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Marion County Sheriff's Deputy John Durm


MARION COUNTY, Ind. — The death of Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy John Durm is caused a complete overhaul of department policy and led to the firing of two deputies.

“Some say it’s defective equipment, or even complacency. It wasn’t understaffing that killed John Durm, nor was it complacency. It was Orlando Mitchell,” said Sheriff Kerry Forestal in a Wednesday press conference.

However, it was a lack of resources and staffing that Sheriff Forestal says ultimately contributed to the death of Deputy Durm. Orlando Mitchell is accused of strangling Durm to death back in July during a transport. Mitchell was taken to Eskenazi Hospital for a checkup. Durm was working alone. Only four people watch security cameras at the Criminal Justice Center at one time, with each expected to watch at least twenty cameras alone.

“This manpower leads to deputies taking on more responsibilities, which leads to an increased risk, which can lead to tragedy,” said Forestal.

It wasn’t the first time that Deputy Durm had transported Orlando Mitchell, who was properly shackled on his hands, stomach, and feet, says Forestal. He says it’s still unclear how Mitchell manipulated the chains to get the leverage to choke Durm.

Wednesday’s press conference featured edited video of John Durm’s death. The only part of the apparently strangling that’s shown is when Mitchell lifts his hands over Durm and around his neck. The video cuts to Mitchell stealing the van, with Durm laying on the ground, blurred out.

At that point in the video, a Cumberland police officer entered the Criminal Justice Center on the east side of Indianapolis. The cop had a detained person in the back, and it was that person who pointed out Durm’s body on the ground.

The Cumberland officer was too late as Mitchell drove off in the van, eventually crashing and hurting more cops later that day.

The video showed the Cumberland officer trying to help Durm, but you may not be able to see that. Minutes after Wednesday’s press conference, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office received a court order restricting them, or anyone else, from sharing any portion of Durm’s death video without permission:

“No party. law enforcement personnel, or person in possession of any copy or portion of a copy of the video that depicts any part of the alleged murder of Deputy John Durm or the events at Eskenazi on July 10th, 2023, may share any portions of the videos with any media or any news organization during the pendency of this matter. Further, no portion of such videos may be shared whatsoever, without notice to the parties and by order of this Court.”

As for the overhauled policies, Sheriff Forestal listed a wide range of changes, including additional training, more cameras, two people staffed during each inmate transport, changing the color of murder suspect’s jumpsuit to red, and more.