IMPD defends officers’ actions during disturbance at Washington Square Mall that led to arrests

INDIANAPOLIS - A weekend disturbance that ended with three arrests at Washington Square Mall is raising more questions about the future of the mall, while others are accusing police of using excessive force.

Police say a disturbance at a cell phone kiosk inside the mall prompted mall security to call for assistance shortly before the mall closed at 9 p.m. Metropolitan police and Cumberland police responded to the situation. Major Richard Riddle says the disturbance started when a man thought a worker at the kiosk had stolen his cell phone.

Riddle said the man and two others refused to leave when asked to do so by mall security. Responding officers told the man to leave, but he became belligerent with officers, Riddle said. At first, Riddle said, the two other men tried to get the first man to leave, but they also began to obstruct and resist officers after they were told the man was going to be arrested.

“We have an instance where they refused to leave the mall, they were going to be taken into custody, and refused to comply with the officers commands to get on the ground and submit to arrest peacefully,” Riddle said.

One officer was slightly injured during the incident.

22-year old Shaquille Davis was arrested on preliminary charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and battery on a law enforcement officer resulting in injury. 26-year old Brandon Davis was arrested on preliminary charges of obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct, resisting law enforcement, possession of marijuana with a prior conviction, and possession of a narcotic drug. 24-year old Antonio Leflore was arrested on preliminary charges of obstruction of justice, possession of marijuana, and possession of a narcotic drug.

Davis and Leflore were transported to the Arrestee Processing Center. Brandon Davis was transported to Eskenazi Hospital for treatment.

Video of the incident circulating on social media shows IMPD and Cumberland police using force to get the three men on the ground to be arrested. Tasers were deployed, and one of the men cut his face on a display case while falling down following a taser strike, Riddle said.

The video has prompted backlash on social media from those who accuse the officers of police brutality.

Riddle says the video shows an appropriate and common level of force based on the situation.

“That video has been edited, clearly been edited to only show the officers’ actions instead of the entire context of what the officers were dealing with,” Riddle said. “The resistance, the noncompliance, and the resulting use of force in this incident.”

The weekend incident comes less than a year after a shooting inside Washington Square Mall left three people injured. It also comes two years after Simon Property Group abandoned the mall, turning the property back over to its lender. Less than 50-percent of the mall’s store space is currently occupied by tenants and future ownership of the mall is unclear.

City-County Council member La Keisha Jackson, who was injured in the 2015 shooting said Monday that she has real concerns about safety and security of mall patrons.

Riddle said security at the mall is made up of combination of private security guards and off-duty police officers.

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