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EPD accused of 'excessive force,' pay out $75,000

An Evansville arrest recorded 3 years ago has paid out $75,000 in court, but police maintain they did nothing wrong.

Doug Scholp was 55-years-old and disabled when two Evansville Police officers tried to stop him for speeding in March 2015. Officers say they followed Scholp with their lights on for two blocks before he pulled into his garage.

Scholp has medical issues that requires him to use a cane. An EPD body camera captured the incident.

“Can you get out of the garage?” Scholp told the officers, “Get out!”

The officers told Scholp they were conducting a traffic stop. Scholp raised his cane towards one officer while sitting in the driver’s seat. Then the officers told Scholp to get out of the car.

“We tried to pull you over,” said one officer. “No, get out of the garage right now,” Scholp responded.

In the body camera video, you can see officers pull Scholp from the car, bring him to the ground and use a taser. It takes more than a minute rolling on the garage floor to get Scholp in handcuffs.

Indianapolis civil rights attorney Scott Barnhart represents Scholp and helped him secure the 75 grand from Evansville in a judgement handed down last month.

“Sometimes people just don't see the lights, they're not paying attention,” Barnhart says, explaining why Scholp may not have stopped for the officers.

Scholp was acquitted of criminal charges but his civil case against EPD continued up until last month.

Barnhart says he understands police have the right to use force, but he believes this crossed the line. “Officers should get the benefit of the doubt, and the law provides for that,” Barnhart says.

EPD Sgt. Jason Cullum said in a statement, the department denies all claims of wrongdoing and the city used a rule of procedure to resolve the matter in court.

“I believe that's an admission of wrongdoing whether they choose to acknowledge that or not,” says Barnhart. He hopes this case is a lesson for police officers to be more concerned with people who are disabled.

Cullum couldn't explain specifics on the arrest or how procedure was or wasn't followed, but he said neither officer was disciplined.

 

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(This story was originally published April 17, 2018)


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