Autopsy Shows Unarmed Man Killed by 2 IMPD Officers Was Shot in the Back 4 Times.

The family of Aaron Bailey said Thursday that an autopsy report shows the unarmed motorist killed by two Indianapolis police officers was shot in the back four times.

Bailey, 45, was unarmed when he was shot and killed by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officers following a short pursuit that ended in a crash near 23rd and Aqueduct streets on the city’s north side in the early morning hours of June 29.

During a Thursday news conference, Bailey’s sister, Kimberly Brown, and his daughter, Erica Bailey, joined Dominic Dorsey and Satchuel Cole of social justice advocacy organization DONT SLEEP to discuss some of the details of Bailey’s autopsy report.

The family said they believe nearly a dozen bullets struck the car. They highlighted the autopsy report, describing four gunshot wounds in Bailey’s back. Autopsy reports are not public record in Indiana.

Sitting near the site of the crash, Brown cried.

“I know I have to be strong, but it’s hard sitting here because I know that’s where my brother’s life ended,” Brown said. “And it’s not fair.”

Cole, vice president of DONT SLEEP, said 42 days is far too long to go without hearing a statement from the officers.

“There is zero transparency from IMPD,” she said. “Absolutely none.”

IMPD and the Marion County prosecutor’s office are conducting parallel investigations of the incident. The officers involved, Michal P. Dinnsen and Carlton J. Howard, have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of those investigations.

In the weeks following the shooting, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach and Mayor Joe Hogsett have maintained the city would be as transparent as possible during the investigation. IMPD also has asked the FBI to conduct a separate investigation of the incident. The agency has since opened a civil rights investigation.

The officers’ contact with Aaron Bailey began during a traffic stop about 1:45 a.m. June 29 near Burdsal Parkway and East Riverside Drive, according to police. This is how authorities described the incident:

About 10 minutes after the officers stopped Bailey’s car, Bailey and his passenger, 26-year-old Shiwanda Ward, suddenly took off. A police chase ensued, but after about a minute, Bailey crashed his sedan into a fence near the intersection of 23rd and Aqueduct streets.

Both officers approached the car, and both officers subsequently fired their weapons. Bailey was pronounced dead at Eskenazi Hospital 30 minutes later. Ward was uninjured.

A warrant recently had been issued for Bailey’s arrest after he violated the terms of his release on a pending theft case filed in early February.

It remains unclear why Bailey was pulled over, why he drove away from officers and what he and the officers said to one another during their contact. What prompted the shooting remains unclear.

IndyStar sent IMPD a list of 13 questions Thursday night on matters such as the number of times Bailey was hit, how many shots each officer fired and where the officers were in relation to the car. A department spokesman said those details remain part of the ongoing investigation. The department then issued a statement:

“Aaron Bailey’s death continues to be a tragic incident for our community and our department. IMPD is committed to being as transparent as the law allows, and upon completion of the ongoing criminal investigation by the Marion County prosecutor’s office, we are prepared to move expeditiously with our own internal review.”

Dorsey again called for the officers’ termination, for charges to be brought without a grand jury and for a special prosecutor.

Because the facts in police-involved shootings are often disputed, Prosecutor Terry Curry uses citizen grand juries to make charging decisions in those cases.

In Indianapolis, no police officer in recent years has been charged with a crime in connection with an officer-involved shooting. It can take months before a grand jury hears the evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to move forward with a trial.

The prosecutor’s office issued a statement Friday saying they had received the coroner’s report and the investigation was moving forward:

“Our office has received IMPD’s investigation and just this week received the Coroner’s report on the death of Mr. Aaron Bailey. In addition, Prosecutor Curry has directed investigators assigned to our office to follow up on information which may be pertinent to the investigation. This matter remains a priority for our office. More information will be provided on the anticipated next steps in the process as the investigative phase concludes.”

Messages left with the president of the Fraternal Order of Police were not immediately returned Thursday evening.

Dorsey, president of DONT SLEEP, said photos of the car show shattered back windows and bullet holes in the car’s trunk.

“Once you see this footage, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that they abused their power and they saw fit to kill a man, to shoot him, to murder him,” Dorsey said. “While his back was turned. I can’t think of a much more cowardly act.”

Cole noted how quickly charges were brought against Jason Brown, the 28-year-old charged with murder in the July 27 shooting death of Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan. But still, more than a month later, Cole said the family has yet to see a police report detailing the incident.

“When you’re wearing a blue uniform, justice comes swift, and it’s very, very, very stern,” Cole said. “But when you have black or brown skin, it comes never at all.”

Both Dinnsen and Howard joined the department in 2014. Dinnsen is white. Howard is biracial.

Erica Bailey and Brown said they had reached a place where they could forgive the officers if they could just get answers.

“I serve a God that sits high and looks low,” Brown said. “And while I’m sitting here, looking at what they did to my brother at the site where it all happened, I can still forgive.”

Still, the lack of closure and what they call the lack of action by IMPD and the prosecutor’s office hurts.

“I’m very upset, I’m very mad, I’m very hurt,” Bailey said, breaking into tears. “I don’t sleep at night like I used to and my life is not the same anymore.”

Aaron Bailey’s death is the first fatal police shooting of the year. IMPD recorded three fatal police shootings in 2016, eight in 2015 and four in 2014.


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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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