Judge throws out report clearing LPD officers in K9 mauling

Special prosecutor Mary Hutchison says their actions "were not criminal in nature." But the former Madison County deputy prosecutor left her post in the middle of the investigation, so Judge Sean Persin last week threw out the report, saying she "no longer had authority to act as special prosecuting attorney in this case."

Posted: Jun 28, 2021 3:30 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2021 7:07 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A special prosecutor cleared three Lafayette police officers after a K-9 mauled a man last year. That's according to the findings of an investigation into allegations of excessive force.

Special prosecutor Mary Hutchison says their actions "were not criminal in nature." But the former Madison County deputy prosecutor left her post in the middle of the investigation, so Judge Sean Persin last week threw out the report, saying she "no longer had authority to act as special prosecuting attorney in this case."

Now a new special prosecutor,  David Thomas, is investigating the K9 mauling from May 2020, which left Richard Bailey Jr. in a coma for six days.

Bailey was a suspect in a fight at a Lafayette home. Lafayette Police Department says Bailey resisted arrest but the man's attorneys say he was targeted because of his race.

State Representative Chris Campbell is a critic of LPD's response in this case.

She's co-authored several bills this year she says could have changed the outcome, including one mandating de-escalation training for police officers.

"When you watch the video, it does not appear there was any de-escalation," she says. 

But LPD cleared the officers in its own internal investigation.

In a statement last year to News 18, the agency said Bailey was resisting arrest and his "non-compliance created a physical altercation that did not need to occur."

LPD Chief Patrick Flannelly also posted a Youtube video debriefing the body camera footage, saying it exonerates the officers.

"To rush to judgment without a thorough and comprehensive understanding of all the facts and circumstances is an injustice to all," he says in the video.

But Campbell says officers could have prevented the situation from escalating to violence.

"We kind of expect maybe more respect of the per son that they're stopping and maybe trying to do that de-escalation first before using a life-threatening fatal dog bite," she says.

Bailey's attorney declined to comment. News 18 reached out to LPD for comment but didn't hear back.

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