Jessie Vernon has filed a lawsuit against the Muncie Police Department, claiming police officers used excessive force during his arrest.
The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred on June 9, 2018 near Gharkey and Jackson Streets in Muncie, Indiana. Police officer Chase Hunter stopped Vernon and another person for riding bicycles without proper lighting.
Police officer Chase Winkle arrived to the scene later to assist Hunter. According to video footage, Hunter told Winkle that he saw Vernon throw something into the bushes. Hunter searched the area and said that he found a plastic bag with a crystallized substance.
Hunter then suggested for Winkle to arrest Vernon. As Winkle put handcuffs on Vernon, Vernon got up on his feet and a fight ensued.
The lawsuit claims that Winkle threw Vernon on the ground, beat him and tased him several times.
Several other officers arrived at the scene and helped shackle Vernon’s legs and take him to the patrol car. They took him to the hospital.
Tests revealed that Vernon had marijuana, alcohol and methamphetamine in his system. He was arrested and charged with dealing meth, possession of a controlled substance, battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting a law enforcement officer.
Vernon pleaded not guilty to the charges and the prosecutor dropped them due to insufficient evidence.
The lawsuit claims that the city of Muncie knew or should have known that Winkle was inappropriate to work as a police officer.
“I think the video speaks for itself. I think anyone who watches this video would have questions about what happened that night. And would want an additional investigation as to retain what actually did go on,” Rob King, Vernon’s lawyer said.
“He sustained a serious injury to his collar bone. Required several surgeries to address that injury. And still suffers from some of the effects of that injury,” King added.
Megan Webb, a friend and co-parent with Jessie Vernon, said Muncie needed to take responsibility for what happened.
“Jessie is really a great dad and it makes me so sad to see him be limited with what he can do with our son,” Webb said. “My five year old son is terrified of the police because of this and them coming to my home harassing us and arresting Jessie on false information and warrants.”