Body Cam Video Captures Moment Cop Punches Handcuffed Man in Groin

A former assistant police chief’s five-day suspension for excessive force has been approved by the Police Merit Commission.

Sgt. Rob Hahn was suspended five days without pay and chose not to appeal that order, but new details about the incident that led to the suspension were released to the public Monday.

Body cam video released Monday by the Evansville Police Department showed Hahn shoving a handcuffed suspect and hitting him in the groin.

According to EPD spokesman Sgt. Jason Cullum, “did a couple of things that violated (the department’s) use-of-force policy” after taking the man into custody inside a Fares Avenue motel room.

“At one point, (Hahn) pushed the individual’s head against the wall,” Cullum said. “Then he threw him down onto a bed, and as he walked by he punched the individual in the groin area.”

Hahn served as assistant chief under former police chief Brad Hill. He is back on duty as a patrol sergeant after being docked five days’ pay.

He reported hitting the suspect to his supervising lieutenant the day it happened, Cullum said.

“Obviously, he’s a supervisor, he’s expected to set an example for the folks that work for him,” Cullum said. “He recognized that day that he did not set the example we expect our supervisors to set.”

The encounter started when officers were serving an out-of-county warrant on a man in August at the Arrowhead Motel on North Fares Avenue. Hahn and three patrol officers arrived to arrest the suspect.

When the man did not open his door, the officers went inside the motel room and found him standing in the bathroom on the phone.

Body camera video shows the man was promptly handcuffed. He was not resisting arrest when Hahn shoved and later hit him.

Video shows the suspect protesting after he is hit and asking officers why he was punched in the genitals.

None of the three patrol officers who witnessed the encounter are under investigation, according to EPD.

Details on the suspension could not be released until the Evansville Police Merit Commission heard Hahn’s case, Cullum said. The Merit Commission has the final say on all matters of police discipline — commissioners can choose to overturn a suspension or other discipline recommended by the department’s chain of command.

The board is made of of three people, one each appointed by the City Council, the mayor and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Cullum said the department chain of command feels Hahn “owned the situation” by talking to the officers present when he hit the suspect, and also addressing roll calls to talk about the encounter.

Hahn joined EPD in February 1989, according to a personnel file obtained by the Courier & Press in a public records request. He previously worked for the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office. Hahn served as assistant police chief under Hill starting in July 2004, according to EPD’s history of the department.