A disturbing Facebook video shows a white Indiana police officer aggressively punching a 17-year-old during a verbal altercation.
According to a statement from the police department, the officers were called to the scene to assist with a “large fight” after an unidentified male student was placed in the custody of an Indianapolis Public School officer. Officers were reportedly requested to assist with the student’s mother.
According to the Daily Mail, on Thursday (Aug. 29) around 1:30 p.m., two officers from IMPD (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department) got into a heated intense argument with a mother outside of Shortridge High School.
In the video, the officer, identified as Robert Lawson, can be seen striking the teenager causing him to tumble to the ground after screaming, “You want to go to jail? You want to go to jail? Let’s go!”
WTHR reports that the teenager who was punched received five days of suspension from school.
According to a statement by IMPD obtained by WTHR, the officer was suspended without pay.
“The video shows a clear image of a closed fist punch to the face, a technique which is not taught or reasonable given the facts known to us at this time,” Chief Bryan Roach said.
He added, “The incident has been turned over to investigators who understand this case is a priority and have been advised to be as timely as possible. In the meantime, the officer is currently suspended without pay. The facts brought forward through the ongoing investigations in both the criminal and administrative processes will then be used to determine any final decisions.”
Attorney Terrance Kinnard, who will reportedly be representing the family, released the following response.
“Like many, we are shocked by the behavior depicted in the video currently circulating on social media networks. Over the coming days my staff and I will investigate all of the facts before deciding on a proper course of action,” Kinnard said.
Indianapolis Public Schools released the following statement:
“Indianapolis Public Schools requested support from IMPD yesterday at Shortridge High School due to an altercation that took place among students inside the building. The District has confirmed that following that altercation, there was an incident involving an IMPD officer striking an IPS student. We are fully engaged in and investigating this matter, while taking every step at the building level and from central office to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.”
IPS superintendent Aleesia Johnson released her own statement via social media:
“As a Black woman and a mother of Black children, it isn’t possible to watch the video of the incident that occurred yesterday at Shortridge without immediately thinking about the other incidents in our country that occur between white police officers and Black people, especially males. Often, I am left feeling a number of emotions — devastation often chief among them.”
The investigation is ongoing.