Police officer jailed for one year for stomping on handcuffed man’s face during arrest

Bodycam captured moment Indianapolis police officer Eric Huxley drove his foot into man lying on the ground

Bevan Hurley
Saturday 09 September 2023 13:59 EDT
Indiana police officer appears to stamp on handcuffed man's head

An Indianapolis police sergeant who stomped on the face of a handcuffed man has been sentence to one year and a day in prison.

Eric Huxley, 44, pleaded guilty in May to using excessive force when he kicked Jermaine Vaughn's head during an arrest for disorderly conduct in September 2021.

Bodycam footage of the incident showed Huxley drive his right foot into Mr Vaughan’s face as he lay prone on the ground and was being restrained by another officer in Indianapolis’ Monument Circle.

US District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer’s actions had “shocked the conscience”, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Huxley was indicted in October on a civil rights violation of deprivation of rights under colour of law.

In a statement, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana said Mr Vaughan posed no danger to the officers or the public when he was assaulted.

Indianapolis police officer Eric Huxley was sentenced to one year in prison for stomping on a man’s head

Huxley, a 14-year veteran officer, had “betrayed the trust of the community he served” and abused his power, federal prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum.

“In addition to the trauma inflicted on victims, police officers who break the law and use excessive force damage the community’s trust in the law enforcement profession,” US Attorney Zachary A Myers said after Friday’s verdict.

Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of between 1.5 to two years, while Huxley’s attorney John Kautzman had asked for probation.

He said Huxley’s actions amounted to a “a one time totally out of character lapse in judgment” in a pre-sentencing filing.

After the sentence, Mr Kautzman told The Independent in a statement that his client accepted the one-year sentence.

“We appreciate the Judge’s thoughtful consideration of this matter and are prepared to serve the sentence,” Mr Kautzman said.

“Eric has apologised to the victim and the community for his out of character actions that day, and looks forward to putting this matter behind him so he can focus on taking care of his family”

Police bodycam footage of an arrest on 24 September appears to show Sgt Eric Huxley stomping on Jermaine Vaughn’s face

In addition to the prison sentence, he was sentenced to six months of home detention and 18 months of supervised release.

Mr Vaughan, who was homeless at the time of the assault, was charged with two misdemeanour counts of disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement, both of which were later dismissed.

He has filed a lawsuit against the city, the police force and Huxley seeking unspecified damages for “extensive physical injuries”.

Huxley was suspended without pay by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and has been recommended for termination.

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