FWPD Given Power To Toughen Penalties In Excessive Force Cases (VIDEO)

By Jeff Neumeyer - 21Alive

September 9, 2013 Updated Sep 9, 2013 at 4:26 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21 Alive) ---Cracking down on excessive force.

Fort Wayne city police commanders have been granted more authority to discipline officers who go too far and hurt someone.

In a unanimous 3-0 vote, the Fort Wayne Board of Public Safety Monday afternoon adopted a policy revision that says excessive force causing serious bodily injury can now be a fireable offense.

Chief Rusty York wanted the change to send a message to officers who step outside the bounds.

This summer, officer James Arnold was ordered to serve a 30-day suspension for fracturing the jaw of a man during an emergency call.

In 2007, Arnold shot and killed illegal immigrant Jose Lemus Rodriguez at the end of a police chase.

His actions did not result in police discipline, but the city did pay $335,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

York says as more incidents are recorded by citizens on phone cameras, departments are going to need to tighten excessive force standards.

" These allegations in all police departments are going to be going up again with the availability of video out there. More and more of these situations are being captured and we're going to have to deal with them more and deal with them appropriately," York said.

In cases where Fort Wayne police commanders want an officer fired, evidence will be presented to the board of safety for a ruling.

Chief York says officers will get some benefit of the doubt, if it's an incident where a suspect is armed and is linked to a serious offense such as battery, robbery, or something else of a violent nature.

An officer will also be given more favorable consideration if the suspect involved is resisting arrest or trying to escape.




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