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Two Indiana Police Officers Are Acquitted of Excessive Force in 2020 Protesters’ Arrests

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INDIANAPOLIS — Two Indianapolis police officers were acquitted early Saturday of using excessive force to strike two women with batons during arrests at a May 2020 protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Officers Jonathan Horlock and Nathaniel Schauwecker had been charged with battery and official misconduct in the case. They were among officers ordered to arrest people gathered at a downtown Indianapolis intersection in violation of an 8 p.m. curfew.

After more than 10 hours of deliberation, the jury found the officers not guilty of four of the charges they faced. The jury could not reach verdicts on one charge of battery and one charge of official misconduct, local news outlets reported.

Prosecutors argued the officers did not respond in a reasonable way to actions by the two women, Ivore Westfield and Rachel Harding. The arrests reportedly left the women with multiple bruises and sore areas.

However, the officer’s attorney, John Kautzman, said the men did what they are trained to do. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has said the officers followed policy in their use of force.

The episode followed several days of Black Lives Matter protests occurring downtown after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Neither woman was charged with a crime. They have filed a federal lawsuit against Horlock, Schauwecker and two other officers that is pending. Horlock and Schauwecker have been on administrative leave since the episode.

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