An Indiana policeman may lose his job after authorities say he unnecessarily struck a teenager while he was being arrested and subdued by other officers.
Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski told reporters in a news conference that he had called for the firing of Officer Jerry Piland after an internal investigation determined that he used excessive and unnecessary force in the arrest of 15-year-old Brandon Johnson.
Johnson, a biracial boy, claimed he was beaten because of his race when he and his younger brother were arrested on May 16.
Investigators found that Piland used his knee to repeatedly strike Johnson in the face and shoulder even though two officers had subdued him leaving him with a bloodied face, broken nose and chipped teeth.
One of the arresting officers, Officer Oliver Clouthier, was praised for putting a stop to the beating and ordering Piland to leave the boy alone.
Police Chief Ciesielki told reporters that the department would not stand for this type of behavior saying,
“It was a difficult decision, but I know it was the right decision to terminate his employment because that certainly serves as an example that we have a zero-tolerance policy”
Black community leaders and Johnson’s family want an investigation to be conducted to see if his civil rights were violated.
All three of the officers involved in the incident were white.
The attorney for the boy’s family says Johnson asked officers why they were arresting his brother after the boy was seen trying to kick in the door an abandoned building.
Johnson was told to go get an adult and reportedly did so but when he questioned police again he was reportedly struck.
A police report says Piland hit the boy with an open hand before “using his knee to apply pain” when the boy fell to the ground.
Internal affairs investigators reportedly interviewed 27 witnesses, spoke with Johnson and his family, reviewed a 911 call, listened to radio calls and examined laptop computer messages.
The police chief’s call for Piland’s firing will go to the Civilian Police Merit Board which will ultimately decide his fate.