*An excessive-force lawsuit was filed against four Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers after video captured their use of batons and pepper balls to arrest a woman during recent protests.
The lawsuit was filed Friday on behalf of Ivoré Westfield and Rachel Harding, who were arrested on May 31. The incident took place at the corner of North Pennsylvania and East Washington streets 31 after an 8 p.m. countywide curfew. An officer already on scene holds back Westfield’s arms while another begins to pull Harding’s behind her as well. When Westfield twists from an officer’s grasp, a voice can be heard saying “hit her,” and officers surround Westfield. Audible pops can be heard on the video, followed by clouds of dust near Westfield, indicating officers fired pepper balls.
Westfield is struck by two officers with batons until she falls to the sidewalk, and Harding stands nearby shouting “Why her? Why her?” before being shoved to the ground by an officer.
The video was shot by a WISH-TV reporter and posted on Facebook.
According to the lawsuit, the women were passive and cooperative before the arrests. After the arrest, the lawsuit states, Westfield was left with welts from the pepper balls as well as severe swelling and bruising to both of her legs and pelvic area.
Harding and Westfield are seeking actual and compensatory damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs and expenses.