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Federal grand jury indicts police officer accused of kicking a handcuffed man in the face

Sgt. Eric Huxley was suspended without pay last year after body camera footage released by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department showed him using excessive force against the man during an arrest.
/ Source: Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis police officer accused of kicking a handcuffed man in the face during an arrest last year was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury for alleged use of excessive force.

The grand jury indicted Sgt. Eric Huxley, 44, on one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Wednesday that Huxley was charged “with violating the civil rights of an arrestee by using excessive force.”

The charge alleges that Huxley struck a person in the head and face, causing injury, while that person was handcuffed in September 2021, and that Huxley did so without legal justification.

The federal charge contains no information about Huxley’s alleged victim, identified last year as Jermaine Vaughn. But Huxley was suspended without pay last year after body camera footage released by police showed him using excessive force against the man during the downtown Indianapolis arrest.

The police body-cam video of a forceful arrest on Sept. 24, 2021 appears to show an officer, Sgt. Eric Huxley stomping on Jermaine Vaughn's face.
The police body camera video of a forceful arrest on Sept. 24, 2021, appears to show an officer, Sgt. Eric Huxley, stomping on Jermaine Vaughn's face.Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept.

Police Chief Randal Taylor recommended last year that Huxley, then a 14-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, be dismissed.

Huxley’s attorney, John Kautzman, said in a statement at the time that his client looked forward to proving he did not act illegally or with criminal intent.

“Over the course of his nearly 15-year career, Sgt. Huxley has been an exemplary police officer. He has never before faced criminal charges or any type of department discipline or excessive force allegations,” Kautzman said last year.

“He is very sorry about any pain caused to Mr. Vaughn as a result of his actions and the negative scrutiny upon his Department and fellow officers,” he added. “This incident resulted from his perception of the need to attempt a trained police technique that unfortunately struck Mr. Vaughn in an unintended area of his body.”

Huxley was charged by Marion County prosecutors with official misconduct and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury. That case is still pending.

Court records detailing those charges said Huxley and two officers approached a man near the city’s Monument Circle after hearing him shouting. Officers asked the man to stop shouting, but after he refused he was handcuffed.

After the man was taken to the ground on his back, the affidavit states that Huxley walked over, lifted his left leg and drove his left foot down into the man’s face.

Police arrested Vaughn on allegations of disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement, and while charges were filed they were later dismissed, The Indianapolis Star reported.