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4 police officers in Muncie, Indiana, now face charges in excessive force case

The officers are accused of using and attempting to cover up excessive force against arrestees in a case first filed last year by the Department of Justice.

A fourth Muncie, Indiana, police officer has been charged in an excessive force and obstruction case after a federal grand jury issued an indictment that added new charges on Tuesday to a case that began last year.

Muncie Police Department officers Joseph “Chase” Winkle, Jeremy Gibson and Sgt. Joseph Krejsa are accused of using excessive force against arrestees and attempting to cover up their misconduct, and officer Corey Posey is accused of aiding in the cover up, the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

The case was first filed against Winkle, Krejsa, and Gibson last March and the new indictment additionally charged Posey.

At least one of the cases in Tuesday’s superseding indictment appears related to an incident from May 2018 in which Emanuel Montero alleges that the officers beat him following a traffic stop. Montero is not named in the indictment, but a victim is referred to as E.M. in a case from the same day he was detained.

Montero filed a federal suit against the city last year alleging that officers Winkle, Posey and Gibson were a part of a group of officers who used excessive force against him. Gibson allegedly initiated the May 2018 traffic stop, initiated a K-9 sniff of the vehicle and was joined by other officers, according to the lawsuit.

According to Montero’s account, Gibson was agitated because Montero’s brother said he was going to record the stop and later told another officer that the brother was “being a f------ dick.”

The officers spent more than “two minutes, punching, kicking, striking, shoving, and tasing Mr. Montero multiple times about his head, face, and body,” the lawsuit said.

No contraband was found in Montero’s car and he was not issued a citation, according to the lawsuit. Montero alleged that he sustained three broken ribs and fractures to his face as a result of the incident.

The case was dismissed with prejudice last week. An attorney for Montero did not immediately respond to a request from NBC News to comment.

Winkle, who is the son of the department’s former chief, allegedly used excessive force against at least four people during arrests, resulting in at least one person suffering serious injuries. He was originally charged with nine felonies last year of depriving arrestees of their rights and filing false reports.

In a new grand jury indictment filed Tuesday, Winkle was charged with an additional count each of deprivation of rights and a false report in an incident in which he allegedly used his knee to strike someone and also used his stun gun on them.

Gibson was originally facing one count of deprivation of rights after allegedly stomping on and delivering knee strikes to someone’s head during an arrest. He is now also facing two more deprivation of rights charges and a charge of writing a false report, according to Tuesday’s indictment.

Krejsa is now facing a total of four false report charges after allegedly minimizing Winkle’s use of force. He is also accused of misrepresenting a review of Winkle’s arrests, making it seem that another sergeant handled the inquiry when it was in fact Krejsa who cleared him.

Posey is facing a single false report charge after allegedly misrepresenting and omitting Winkle’s use of force, the Department of Justice said.

Gibson, Winkle and Krejsa were placed on administrative leave following last year’s indictment, according to NBC affiliate WTHR at the time. Posey’s employment status is unclear and he declined to comment when reached by phone by NBC News Wednesday.

The Muncie Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gibson’s attorneys, David Markus and Lauren Doyle, called their client innocent in a statement Wednesday.

"The Government realized that it was going to lose the trial against Jeremy so it decided to add more charges,” the statement said. “But these additional charges are also false. Jeremy Gibson is a good man and was a good officer.”

Winkle’s attorney declined to comment and Kresja’s attorney did not immediately respond to NBC News.