Attorney of Family Filing Federal Lawsuit Against IMPD Officer: Bullying Incident Led to Viral Video
INDIANAPOLIS--The family of a teenager who has filed a federal lawsuit against an IMPD officer and two other IPS officers says a bullying incident led up to what was seen in a viral video.
The case of Pointer v. Officer Richard Lawson was filed by the Kinnard & Scott law firm on behalf of Danielle Pointer and two teenagers.
The lawsuit is over several videos that show an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer punching a student outside Shortridge High School last Thursday.
Pointer's attorney, Terrence Kinnard, described what he and his client believe happened on August 29 in a news conference Thursday.
"There were two students in the care of Ms. Pointer who attend Shortridge High School. One of those students, AW, was attacked by a group of children who had been bullying and harassing him for about a week," Kinnard said.
Kinnard said he IPS officers responded when they saw what was going on.
"During their response, they detained AW while other students continued to attack him. IPS officers then deployed a chemical agent (pepper spray), which affected the children. We are still in the process of trying to identify who those officers are," Kinnard said.
He said Pointer's children were suspended and her concerns were not being addressed over why her children were the victims of the attack.
"The more she asked questions, the more they denied her responses, which led to her being emotional. As a result of her emotions, she decided she would take her concerns to the Department of Education for IPS. When stating that's what she was going to do, she was threatened with arrest," Kinnard said.
Kinnard said as she began to leave the property, IMPD officers threatened to arrest her.
"AW, her minor child, stepped forward, believing he was told to come forward because he was going to be arrested, although he committed no crime. As he stepped forward, he was assaulted by an IMPD officer," Kinnard said.
The lawsuit states that IMPD Officer Richard Lawson lied in a police report when he said he delivered an "open palm" strike to the minor. Lawson was suspended by the department without pay. Kinnard was asked what he would like to see happen to the officer.
"I'd like to see him get an opportunity to be fully judged in a court of law for his actions. Being suspended by his employer is a great first step. Charges should be filed against this officer and he is given the opportunity to have his case adjudicated through the legal system," said Kinnard.
Kinnard also thanked the public for its input and sending in the videos. He also said AW is a great student at school.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, litigation costs and “all other appropriate relief.”
(PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis)