Daughter of Aaron Bailey decries merit board decision

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Emotions were high and feelings of pain were evident following the Police Merit Board's decision to clear two officers who shot and killed an unarmed man.

A vigil expressed some of them just hours afterwards, hosted by Faith in Indiana, as people spoke against the decision.

Investigators said in June, Aaron Bailey led police on a chase after a traffic stop. He crashed his car. When officers said he didn't follow their commands and they thought he was reaching for a weapon, they shot him. No weapon was found.

"They killed my father with his back turned," Bailey's daughter, Erica, said through tears. "I just don't understand how the verdict come back not guilty or to keep your jobs when you was in the wrong."

She found few answers in the decision.

"You were heartless and your tears was fake, that's how I feel about it," she said.

The merit board, a seven member panel of citizens, came to the decision Officers Carlton Howard and Michael Dinnsen did not violate policy and could keep their jobs after three days of testimony. While a special prosecutor found no criminal wrongdoing, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach had recommended the officers be fired.

"We're relieved with the resolution, we're very thankful to the merit board for making a really tough, courageous decision based on the facts," John Kautzman, an attorney for the officers, said.

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach called it a lose-lose situation but said they would continue on working to get better and building trust within the community.

"It's disappointing obviously I believe one way and the board chose another but I've been talking since day one about the process, we let the process go through," Roach said.

The divisions left in the wake were clear, though.

"There were leadership decisions that were made that were wholly inappropriate that brought us here. What we had, again as I've said, is truth versus fiction and truth prevailed here," Rick Snyder, the president of the Indianapolis F.O.P. said.

Snyder said he would call on the officers immediate reinstatement and for backpay. Roach said they will talk as an executive staff and with officers to see how to bring them back into the fold.

"We're the same today as we were yesterday I know there's some frustration but please bear with us and see each other as people, make good decisions and we'll do the same," Roach said.

But no matter the process, no matter the decision it's not the end of the road for Erica Bailey.

"I'm gonna keep on praying and I'm gonna keep on fighting," she said.

The Bailey family has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court. Right now, a jury trial is scheduled for January.

 

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