FISHERS, Ind. — The Fishers Police Department responded to an accusation of racial profiling by stating that an internal review found that officers responded in accordance with department policy and procedure when pulling over an Indianapolis man whom police were led to believe may have been in possession of a firearm.
An attorney recently filed a tort notice against the police department on behalf of Malcom Bunnell and his family claiming that Fishers police committed biased-based profiling during a traffic stop of the Bunnell family.
Bunnell took to Facebook in a post that went viral telling his side of the story. Bunnell said he was with his wife and baby daughter when he was pulled over at gunpoint by Fishers police after being harassed by a man, later identified as Dustin J. Martin, at a Walmart.
Police said that officers were called to the Walmart parking lot due to reports of a physical altercation and encountered Martin who told police that Bunnell had just harassed him while he was attempting to shop at Walmart.
Martin told police Bunnell just left the parking lot in a white Cadillac Escalade. Police also reported that Martin repeatedly told officers that Bunnell was armed.
Fishers police said they reviewed bodycam and in-car camera footage of the “high risk traffic stop” Fishers officers conducted on Bunnell. The police department said it also reviewed retail video, dispatch radio traffic, 911 calls, case report narratives and more before coming to the decision that the officers responded in accordance to policy.
“Currently, the individuals involved in this matter have not responded to the department’s offers to meet and discuss the incident in detail and review all associated videos,” said the Fishers Police Department in a release.
“The Fishers Police Department and the City of Fishers will share all facts and evidence in the proper venue as a Tort Claim notice has been received, and a criminal case is pending with the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” the police department added.
Dustin J. Martin was arrested after police returned to the Walmart after finding no gun in Bunnell’s vehicle and finding that Martin had left the scene after a police officer specifically told him not to.
Martin was eventually tracked down and taken into custody where he faces charges of false informing and resisting arrest.
In Bunnell’s account of the incident, he claimed Martin as the harasser while he was dropping his girlfriend off to pick up baby formula. He pointed out the difference in the “violent arrest” of him and his girlfriend compared to the “peaceful investigation” of Martin as part of his claim of racial profiling, due to Martin being white while he and his family are Black.
“They proceeded to let him go on about his day while they hunted me down in the middle of traffic,” Bunnell recalled in his viral post detailing the encounter.
Bunnell’s attorney pointed out in the tort claim notice sent to Fishers police that “merely having a gun is not suspicion of a crime.”
While a tort claim signifies an intention to file a lawsuit, it does not mean that a lawsuit will ultimately be filed.