City of Anderson to move forward with body, in-car cams for police department

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ANDERSON — Mayor Thomas Broderick of Anderson announced Thursday that the city will be moving forward with purchasing body cams and in-car cameras for police.

Broderick opened the press conference by saying city officials issued a statement regarding George Floyd. He said the city believes Floyd’s rights were violated and excessive force is unacceptable.

The conference came in the wake of a video showing officer Brandon Reynolds wrapping his arm around 21-year-old Spencer Nice’s neck as officer Ashley Gravely put him in handcuffs.

According to court documents obtained Thursday, Nice was being questioned by the officers about noises that sounded like gunshots in the area. Police say he attempted to avoid questioning which lead both officers to attempt to physically restrain him, ultimately resulting in what Officer Reynolds called a “balance displacement takedown.”

Spencer Nice

The mayor said officials were disturbed by the video of the arrest. He said it appeared that it could be excessive, and they immediately took steps to take action. 

“He is seen putting his arm around the neck of the individual and pulling him up off his feet and down to the ground in a restraining manner in order to complete the taking of him into custody,” said Broderick.

Anderson Police Chief Jake Brown says he was ‘disturbed’ when he first saw the video. But he says chokeholds aren’t used often and there are other methods to use to restrain an arrestee.

“I would say very rarely. We have other resources and tools to our disposal whether it be OC spray, tasers, depending on what’s going on there’s a lot of variables on a broad hypothetical,” said Brown.

The officers who’ve been on the force for at least five years were placed on administrative leave with pay, and Broderick said the investigation is expected to wrap up in the next few days.

“When it is completed it will go up the chain of command ultimately to the chief who will review it and he will make his recommendations for what discipline if any would be wanted and that would most likely be present it to the safety board and then the safety board will make the ultimate decision,” said Broderick.

Under Indiana State law, the Mayor nor the Chief are allowed to terminate or dismiss an officer.

“We’ve done everything legally that we can do at this point and time. In the meantime, we are taking other actions within our department, within our city,” said Broderick. “We support our police .. we also recognize that people can make mistakes.”

He said the city will take prompt action if the public’s rights are being violated. The mayor added they had previously looked at body and vehicle cameras, but officials got sidetracked with COVID-19.

Based on discussions with Anderson police, the mayor said the decision is a win-win and most officers agree. 

“We believe that our officers would favor the use of body cams,” said Broderick.

The mayor explained that body cams allow officers to collect evidence and be transparent to the public, and protect officers against false misconduct allegations.

“We will continue to do everything within our power to build and support the public trust,” said Broderick.

The family of Spencer Nice says they would like the officers to be terminated. And Spencer never knew why he was being arrested until he was released Sunday morning. They’re asking for the charges of resisting law enforcement against Nice to be dropped.

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