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Four Indianapolis officers taken off patrol after video shows two of them striking woman with batons during arrest

A reporter for WISH-TV, an Indianapolis broadcaster, filmed on May 31 police hitting a protester with batons and pepper balls as the curfew went into effect. (Video: WISH-TV)
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INDIANAPOLIS — Four Indianapolis police officers were reassigned and the city’s police chief promised a speedy investigation after video emerged Thursday of two officers striking a woman with batons and another officer grabbing the woman near her chest as he tried to restrain her during a May 31 arrest.

Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) addressed the video in a Friday news conference where he had been scheduled to announce a new proposed use-of-force policy which would ban city police from using chokeholds.

“I don’t think there’s anyone that should be able to watch that video and not be moved to emotion,” Hogsett said. “Anytime that our officers deploy force against anyone, that moment is a reminder of the work that we have yet to do to bring peace to our city.”

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor said that he has launched an internal investigation into the incident and that he expects to announce results sometime next week.

“Looking at that video, I have some concerns as well,” said Taylor.

The chief said he didn’t know the identities of the two women involved in the incident. The officers, who have not been named, have been taken off the streets and placed in support roles until the investigation concludes.

Video filmed by a reporter for WISH-TV, an Indianapolis broadcaster, shows an officer holding a woman with his left hand hooked under her armpit near her chest before she wrestles out of his grip, prompting an officer to immediately yell: “Hit her! Hit her!” Several pops are heard and a puff of smoke appears on the woman’s back as an officer fires a pepper ball at her, just before two other officers rush toward her and hit her legs with batons until she drops to the ground.

A second woman asks the police: “Why her? Why her?” With the first woman now on the ground, an officer pulls her hands behind her back and flips her facedown with a baton in his hand. The camera pans away in time to see one of the officers who hit the first woman shove the second woman, who falls on her back. An officer says “resisters,” and someone is heard ordering them to “get on the ground.”

The camera pans back to the first woman, who is still being held to the ground by an officer before a second officer joins him.

Indianapolis has been gripped by nonviolent protests and other civil unrest since before the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police, sparked outrage around the United States. Residents for weeks have called for justice in the killing of Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, who died May 7 after IMPD officers pulled him over for reckless driving and fired more than a dozen shots — video of which was captured by Reed on his Facebook Live.

On Friday, the city reinstated an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekend curfew. Last weekend, three people were shot in two separate incidents, and one was killed. None of the shootings involved officers.