3 Muncie police officers indicted on federal charges, accused of excessive force

Crime
Data pix.

MUNCIE, Ind. – Three Muncie Police Department officers have been indicted, accused of using excessive force and covering it up.

The FBI notified the Muncie Police Department of the indictments against Chase Winkle, Jeremy Gibson, and Sgt. Joe Kresja.

All three officers turned themselves in to the FBI office in Indianapolis Friday morning. They walked into federal court Friday afternoon, in a single file line with shackles on their feet, handcuffs, and body chains.

The indictment charges Winkle with nine felonies, Gibson with one, and Kresja with two.

Here’s the breakdown of the charges:

  • Winkle: Deprivation of rights (4 counts), making a false report (5 counts)
  • Gibson: Deprivation of rights (1 count)
  • Kresja: Making a false report (2 counts)

Winkle is accused of using excessive force against four arrestees. He's also accused of making false reports of his alleged excessive force against a total of six arrestees. According to the indictment, one of the incidents involving Chase and Gibson left one arrestee with serious injuries and another knocked unconscious.

Gibson is accused of stomping and kneeing an arrestee’s head while using a dangerous weapon causing injury. Kresja is accused of covering for his colleagues.

Gibson and Kresja are on active duty, but the department placed both officers on administrative leave.

The Muncie Police Merit Commission placed Winkle on unpaid suspension earlier this year at the recommendation of the current department administration and mayor. He is the son of former police Chief Joe Winkle.

In September, Joe Winkle, confirmed the Department of Justice was investigating the department and as well as his son. Shortly after, excessive force lawsuits were filed against the department.

In November, Chase Winkle was no longer the acting Public Information Officer, and was placed on administrative leave with pay. However, the Muncie Police Merit Commission placed Winkle on unpaid suspension earlier this year at the recommendation of the current department administration, Chief Nathan Sloan and Mayor Dan Ridenour.

"We did tell the FBI we are an open book and will give them any information they need or that they request. We will give them whatever information they need because we want this book to close on Muncie," said Mayor Ridenour.

Our Darius Johnson was the only reporter in the courtroom. He was also the only one to speak face-to-face with Chase and his father Joe as they left the courthouse.

DARIUS: Chase do you have anything to say about the charges you're facing?
CHASE WINKLE: "I dont, dude."

DARIUS: Joe do you have anything to say?
JOE WINKLE: "No thanks"

DARIUS: During this time you were the Chief at the time when all of these things were taking place. Do you have anything to say about that?
JOE WINKLE: "I don't, Darius."

DARIUS: Were you aware that any of this was happening under your jurisdiction?
JOE WINKLE: "I dont have any comment, Darius."

The maximum penalties are 10 years in prison for each of the deprivation-of-rights offenses and 20 years for each of the false report offenses. Their next court hearing is May 11th.

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