A white police officer in Indiana has been charged with battery, false informing and perjury after hitting a Black high school student and lying about it.
Robert Lawson, 43, was caught on video punching a 17-year-old teen at Shortridge Highschool, yelling, “You want to go to jail? You want to go to jail? Let’s go!”
According to ABC, the 11-year police veteran was dishonest about the August 29 incident in official sworn statements. Lawson reportedly claimed he hit the student with an open fist because he thought the teen was going to hit him. He alleged officers on the scene handcuffed the teen without further force after the smack.
According to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, Lawson’s claims were believed to be “false and contrary” when compared to video of the incident. The video shows Lawson punching the teen with a closed fist and kicking him with his knee.
Lawson, who has been suspended without pay, claims another cop witnessed the teenager swing first, but that officer denied the claim.
Lawson claimed the teenager’s face was “clenched in anger” as he balled his hands into fists. The video reveals the student’s hands were not balled up right before the attack occurred.
ABC reports Lawson turned himself in to authorities on Monday.