Two Indianapolis police officers charged with battery in protesters’ arrests

A grand jury indicted two Indianapolis police officers on battery and other charges following an investigation into allegations that they used excessive force while arresting demonstrators at a May protest over the death of George Floyd, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Johnathan Horlock, a five-year veteran with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, faces three counts of battery and one count each of official misconduct, perjury and obstruction. Nathanial Schauwecker, who has been with the department for eight years, faces four counts of battery and two counts of official misconduct.

“The question here is whether the officers’ conduct was reasonable or not,” Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said at a news conference. “You can’t say, ‘Hey, my training told me to do this,’ if that conduct turns out to be unconstitutional, or excessive.”

Two women, Ivoré Westfield and Rachel Harding, both of Marion County, are named as victims. They filed a federal lawsuit in June after video was released of officers using batons and pepper balls to subdue the them during their May 31 arrests in downtown Indianapolis.

Video of the arrest, recorded by WISH-TV, shows Westfield, who is Black, being held from behind by a white male officer, escaping his grasp and then being surrounded by several other officers. There were audible pops and several clouds of spray near Westfield, which the lawsuit contends were caused by detonated pepper balls. Two officers struck her with batons until she fell to the ground, and she was then pinned face-down by a baton at the back of her neck.

Harding, who is white, could be seen and heard in the video shouting, “Why her? Why her?” Another officer then rushed Harding and shoved her to the ground, where officers subdued her.

Neither woman was charged with any crime.

Among other things, grand jurors were asked to consider the level of threat posed by the individuals being arrested, Mears said.

Police Chief Randal Taylor said in a statement Wednesday that Horlock and Schauwecker will remain on administrative duty while an internal investigation continues. Taylor said he intends to address the administrative side of the officers’ conduct following all criminal proceedings.

Two other officers who were involved, Sgt. David Kinsey and Officer Conrad Simpson, do not face charges at this time, Mears said.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

5 thoughts on “Two Indianapolis police officers charged with battery in protesters’ arrests

  1. Officers who don’t intervene and stop their follow officers, are guilty also. Remember the officers walking George Floyd being choked to death?
    I saw the video, and those two girls didn’t do anything we could see that merited the manner in which they were treated.
    We don’t want bullies as Police officers who are suppose to protect us, not beat excessively because they are caught up in the moment and out of control.

  2. Everyone deserves to be given the same levels of respect and be treated fairly.
    How in the world is it logical that people can threaten officers, vandalize and loot downtown, violate curfews and destroy business owners lifetime earnings then all charges charges be dropped against those arrested?
    BUT two officers who were there to PROTECT THE PUBLIC from the madness and violence are facing charges from a Grand Jury?
    This does not sound anything like the same levels of respect for both.
    I am happy to say that no officer harmed me during the riots because I stayed home and if I were there when they asked me to move on I would have complied and not given a reason for the officers to use force on me.
    No replies are needed. I just could not stay silent for this situation.

    1. Those pictures and videos have already been scrubbed – nothing to see here – just move along.