JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. - The Johnson County Prosecutor's Office filed charges against 18 people suspected of being involved in the April 15 brawl that took place inside Greenwood’s Sikh Temple.
Prosecutor Brad Cooper filed the charges after meeting with temple leadership and several members who helped to identify those seen fighting on surveillance video. Fifteen people were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Two others face additional charges of battery resulting in bodily injury.
The charges come two and a half months after the brawl that drew every law enforcement officer in the county. Temple members and Greenwood police investigators say the brawl started as a dispute over temple leadership.
The fight left several people with injuries, including a 13-year-old girl who was pepper-sprayed in the face, and a man who was stabbed with a spear in the back of his shoulder.
“Whether this took place in a temple, or a Walmart like we’ve said before, or anywhere else," said prosecutor Brad Cooper. "If you’re going to engage in this kind of conduct in the public, then you should expect to be charged with a crime.”
Court documents identify 37-year-old Harpreet Singh as the man who pepper sprayed 13-year old Manreet Mahal during the melee. Amardeep Singh, 44, is identified as the man who used a board with a nail sticking out of it to break and lacerate a man's shoulder.
Greenwood police had asked the prosecutor to file charges against four individuals they had identified in the surveillance video. At that time, Cooper said he wanted to identify everyone involved in the fight before filing charges. Cooper says his meeting with temple leadership was instrumental in being able to identify them.
“There were several people that we could see in that video that were defending themselves and those people were not charged," Cooper said. "There were several people that were in that video that you could clearly see they were trying to separate people.”
Family members of the girl who was pepper-sprayed, as well as other temple leaders, say the filing of the charges comes as a relief. They had grown frustrated with the lack of chargestwo months after the brawl, fearing that it sent the wrong message that people could get away with violence without consequences.
“We really do feel relieved and secure again that the people that took an unjust action are getting the proper consequences," said Sukhjinder Mahal.
Those temple members now say the filing of charges sends the appropriate message: that those who perpetrate violent acts will be held accountable.
“This is a loud and clear message, not only to the Sikh community, to the whole community local here that this should not happen again," said Gurinder Singh Khalsa.
Those facing charges include:
Amardeep Singh - Battery resulting in bodily injury, disorderly conduct
Harpreet Singh - Battery resulting in bodily injury, disorderly conduct
Karanajit Mann - Disorderly conduct
Rupinderjut Singh - Disorderly conduct
Jaswinder Singh - Disorderly conduct
Gurpreet Grewal - Disorderly conduct
Jagir Singh - Disorderly conduct
Jasdeep Singh Pawra - Disorderly conduct
Parmdeep Singh - Disorderly conduct
Daljit Singh - Disorderly conduct
Jatinder Mindha - Disorderly conduct
Satnam Singh - Disorderly conduct
Gurnam Singh - Disorderly conduct
Rubaldeep Pawra - Disorderly conduct
Balbir Singh - Disorderly conduct
Baljinder Singh - Disorderly conduct
Balwinder Kahkh - Disorderly conduct
The cases are now being sent to Johnson County Magistrate court for review before hearing dates will be scheduled. Cooper says more people could be charged in the case as more potential suspects are identified.