Fate of IMPD officers involved in June 2017 fatal shooting rests in hands of Merit Board

Aaron Bailey

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man last year will learn their fate with the department next week.

Carlton Howard and Michel Dinssen have been suspended from their positions since the June 29, 2017, shooting that killed Aaron Bailey. They’ll appear in front of the IMPD Merit Board for a three-day hearing about the shooting.

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach recommended that the officers be fired.

Bailey crashed after leading police on a short chase in the early morning hours of June 29. Officers shot him after a traffic stop and said they thought he’d reached into the vehicle to get a weapon. Bailey was unarmed and no weapons were found on him or in the car.

The officers will answer several questions during next week’s hearing and explain their actions. The IMPD Firearms Review Board has already reviewed the case and determined that the officers didn’t comply with their training.

Roach reviewed the board’s findings and said there was no reason to believe deadly force was necessary in the case, leading to his recommendation for termination.

The Merit Board is a seven-person panel that “establishes rules and regulations for the department, develops classifications, ranks, grades, and positions of members of IMPD,” according to the city’s website.

Ultimately, it will be the board’s decision by majority vote to determine if the shooting was justified and whether officers Howard and Dinnsen should face disciplinary action or even termination.

A special prosecutor reviewed the shooting and determined in October 2017 that no criminal charges would be filed. Bailey’s family has filed a federal civil lawsuit against the city, IMPD and the two officers. The trial date is set for March 2019, but it’s possible the two sides could work out a settlement.