2 Indianapolis police officers charged with assaulting protesters

INDIANAPOLIS — Two Indianapolis police officers were charged Wednesday with assaulting two women at a protest, authorities said.

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said that a Marion County grand jury returned indictments against Jonathan Horlock, 29, a five-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, and Officer Nathaniel Schauwecker, 34, an eight-year veteran, the Indianapolis Star reported. The officers are both facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges after videos showed them repeatedly striking one woman with their batons and then shoving another woman to the ground during a May 31 protest, the television station reported.

Horlock was indicted on felony battery, felony perjury, felony obstruction of justice and felony official misconduct charges, WXIN reported. Schauwecker was indicted on one count of felony battery and two counts of felony official misconduct, the television station reported. 

Two other officers involved in the incident were identified as Sgt. David Kinsey, a 20-year veteran; and Officer Conrad Simpson, an 18-year veteran, the Star reported. Kinsey and Simpson were not indicted Wednesday, the newspaper reported.

Mears identified the victims as Ivoré Westfield and Rachel Harding, according to WXIN. The two women filed a excessive force lawsuit in federal court against the four members of the police department after their arrest. The women are seeking damages, attorney’s fees, litigation costs and other expenses, the Star reported.

At the time of the women’s arrests, Indianapolis was placed under an 8 p.m. curfew in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, The New York Times reported.

The two women were still downtown at 8:45 p.m. when they were confronted by police officers, the Star reported.

According to the women’s lawsuit, Harding had been demonstrating in downtown Indianapolis with hundreds of other protesters, and Westfield had been photographing the event, the Times reported.

Lawyers for the women said they didn’t know each other before the protests, and that Harding had agreed to give Westfield a ride home, WISH-TV reported.

They were walking to Harding’s vehicle when several officers approached them and told them they were under arrest in violation of the curfew, court documents said.

According to videos taken at the scene by several news cameramen, two officers are shown striking Westfield with batons while another shoots what appear to be pepper balls after she got free from an officer holding her, the Times reported. When Harding yells, “Why her?” another officer pushes her in the chest, knocking her backward to the ground, according to the video.

Police chief Randall Taylor released a statement after the indictment, promising a review.

“I hold great respect for our criminal justice system and have faith that this process will deliver a just outcome,” Taylor said. “These officers will remain on administrative duty with no police authority. While our internal investigation will continue, it is my intention to address our administrative review of the officer conduct at the conclusion of the ongoing criminal prosecution.”

Terrance Kinnard, the attorney representing Westfield and Harding, expressed his gratitude to local officials and the grand jury.

“We are very pleased with the effort, resolve and diligence shown by Ryan Mears ... he and his staff responded to this matter with the utmost respect and regard, not only for Ms. Westfield and Ms. Harding, but also our community,” Kinnard said in a statement. “We also thank the grand jury for their time, attention and diligence, especially in light of the current environment of a worldwide pandemic.”

John F. Kautzman, a lawyer for two police officers, said he had no immediate comment, the Times reported.

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