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Friday, September 09, 2016

Ind. Decisions - "Appeals court says video 'indisputably contradicts' South Bend police testimony"

Yesterday's Court of Appeals opinion in Royce Love v. State of Indiana (ILB summary here, 8th case) is the subject of a story today by Christian Scheckler of the South Bend Tribune. The long story begins:

On Aug. 4, 2013, South Bend police officers stunned Royce Love with Tasers before deploying a dog on the 32-year-old man, who had just led officers on a car chase before being stopped in an alley near downtown.

When Love struggled against the dog, officers delivered several kicks, including a blow to the head, before putting him in handcuffs. Prosecutors later charged Love with a felony count of resisting law enforcement while using a vehicle, along with misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement and striking a police animal.

At trial, officers testified that Love was "completely uncooperative" and tried to walk away after he got out of his vehicle.

But video showed otherwise.

On Thursday, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned one of Love's convictions for resisting law enforcement and his conviction for striking a police animal, ruling that the video evidence "indisputably contradicts" the officers' accounts of Love's actions after he exited his vehicle.

In the 2-1 decision by the appeals court, Judge Elaine B. Brown wrote that footage from a police dashboard camera showed that Love raised his hands, lowered himself to all-fours and lay on his stomach within about 10 seconds after he exited his vehicle.

Love already had peacefully surrendered before officers deployed their Tasers and the dog, Brown wrote, adding that he struggled only to protect himself from the dog.

Another SBT story today, by the same reporter, begins:
Protesters interrupted several times Thursday evening as a panel of South Bend police officers, community activists and civil rights experts discussed the relationship between city police and minorities.

The discussion, held before a packed auditorium at the Salvation Army's Kroc Center, came at a time of heightened tension over high-profile encounters between police and black people.

Across the nation, confrontations have led to not only fatal shootings of black men, but also deadly attacks on police officers. In South Bend, meanwhile, recent news has brought claims of excessive force by police back to the forefront.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 9, 2016 09:25 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions