LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A special prosecutor and Indiana State Police are investigating allegations that three Lafayette police officers used excessive force in a May arrest where a police dog mauled the neck of Black man suspected of battery.
Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Mary Hutchison was appointed special prosecutor on June 11 to investigate the incident after Tippecanoe County’s prosecutor sought a special prosecutor.
Hutchison, who will determine whether the officers committed any crimes in their arrest of Richard Bailey Jr., said Thursday she had asked state police to also investigate “the allegations surrounding this incident.”
“My goal is to collect and examine the evidence in as sterile an environment as possible, which I will strive to do throughout this investigation,” she said in the statement.
Lafayette police have said Bailey was suspected of shoving two people and choking a third person when he was arrested May 9. He was attacked by a police dog released by one of the officers after they pulled Bailey from a moped he was sitting on.
Bailey’s attorney said he spent six days in a medically induced coma after that attack, and could have died.
“The force was just extraordinarily violent,” Swaray Conteh, one of Bailey’s attorneys, told the Journal & Courier. “They didn’t have to do that. Two of them could have placed him in handcuffs and took him wherever they wanted to. They didn’t need the assistance of a K9.”
Conteh alleges that officers allowed the dog to attack Bailey because he is Black.
Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly called that allegation “completely baseless and unfounded.”
“His actions are the only thing that factored into the officer response,” the chief said.
Police body camera footage that Bailey’s attorneys provided to the Journal & Courier show that the police dog mauled his neck for 30 seconds.
A recorded conversation between Bailey and a physician the attorneys also released to the newspaper indicates his trachea was punctured, cutting his carotid artery and damaging tissue in his neck. He also suffered a shoulder injury and a broken finger as police handcuffed him, it indicates.
Bailey’s attorneys said they may file a lawsuit against the city and police.