INDIANAPOLIS — Body camera video from the night Herman Whitfield III has been released by Indianapolis Metro Police. Only 21 minutes of video are being released to the public.
Whitfield died while in police custody back in late April. Body camera footage shows him moving aggressively around police officers in his home. His parents had called 911 saying that he was having some sort of episode.
Officers are seen in the video using tasers twice to subdue Whitfield. Paramedics soon moved in to take a look at Whitfield, who was naked and bleeding from the mouth as this was all happening.
“Well, the community asked for it,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor to WISH-TV on why he released the video. “So, honestly, I would have liked to have had the autopsy report before releasing the video. A number of groups had asked us to release it. I just think it is at the point where I just need to release it,” said Taylor, the IMPD chief since.”
Whitfield’s mother told the 911 operator that Herman didn’t do drugs and he’d never been diagnosed with anything. The body cam video shows Whitfield being tased during the incident, crashing into a table, all while yelling “fire!”.
When asked if he felt IMPD officers acted appropriately during the incident, Taylor said he was advised not to answer that question. Internal investigations are still being carried out.
“What you see may not be ultimately why this man died. So, a little different for us on this one,” Taylor said.
Whitfield’s family is suing both the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Metro Police. In a news release, they accuse IMPD of releasing “a selective and biased account of the events” of the incident. They are calling on IMPD to release the full video of what happened.
“Mr. Whitfield did not present a danger to the officers, and there was no need to taser him,” say lawyers for Whitfield’s family. “Moreover, the officers violated their own training in keeping Mr. Whitfield handcuffed face down after he was restrained, and after he had told them he couldn’t breathe, and when he was not moving or breathing, which led to this death.”
The coroners report on exactly how Whitfield has not been released yet.
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