Two #Indianapolis #police officers, Jonathan Horlock and Nathaniel Schauwecker, were acquitted of charges related to the use of excessive force during the arrest of two women at a May 2020 protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
The officers faced charges of battery and official misconduct after allegedly striking Ivore Westfield and Rachel Harding with batons during the downtown Indianapolis protest, which occurred in violation of an 8 p.m. curfew.
After over 10 hours of deliberation, the jury found the officers not guilty of four charges but could not reach verdicts on one count of battery and one count of official misconduct. Prosecutors argued that the officers did not respond reasonably to the actions of the two women, resulting in multiple bruises and sore areas.
The defense, represented by attorney John Kautzman, contended that the officers acted in accordance with their training, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department stated that their use of force followed policy.
This incident unfolded amid days of #BlackLivesMatter protests in downtown Indianapolis following the murder of #GeorgeFloyd in Minneapolis. Despite the not guilty verdicts, neither woman faced criminal charges, and they have filed a federal lawsuit against Officers Horlock and Schauwecker, along with two others. The lawsuit is currently pending, while the acquitted officers have been on administrative leave since the episode.
Despite the jury's verdict, the incident highlights the ongoing struggle for justice and accountability within the criminal justice system. We must remain committed to addressing systemic issues that allow such incidents to persist.