What we know: The police shooting of Aaron Bailey

June 30, 2017 | Indianapolis Star | Link to Article

The fatal shooting early Thursday morning of 45-year-old Aaron Bailey, an unarmed black man, is moving Indianapolis into the national discussion about police powers, race and the use of deadly force.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Bryan Roach on Thursday afternoon addressed the shooting and its impact.

“This is a problem and an issue that not only affects this police department, your chief of police, your mayor, but the community as a whole,” Roach said.

Many questions have yet to be answered. Here's what we know:

What happened

A north-side traffic stop shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday led to a brief chase, a minor crash, a driver who reached down in his car and two officers who fatally shot him. No weapon was later found.

The officers

Officers Michal P. Dinnsen and Carlton J. Howard joined IMPD in June 2014. They have never received any disciplinary actions against them. They are now on administrative leave.
is white. Howard is bi-racial.


Indy Congregation Action Network on Thursday decried an "open season on black men" and called for the prosecution of the officers who shot Bailey.

“People of color are scared to walk and drive on their own streets," the Rev. Kenneth Sullivan of New Direction Church said in a statement released by IndyCAN. “We need the community to be able to participate in something that brings resolve to this open season on black men.”

Justice for #AaronBailey rally is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today at City Market.

Today, Indianapolis police shot & killed unarmed . JOIN US LIVE at 10:30 EST for faith community response

Chrystal Ratcliffe, president of the Greater Indianapolis NAACP also released a statement Friday calling for increased accountability and transparency between police organizations and their communities. 

"It is a human and civil rights issue. When there are no systems for accountability, safety is affected and anyone can be a victim," Ratcliffe said. "Let Indianapolis be the last time people lose their lives and families are terrorized by a police force without accountability. Law enforcement accountability means safer communities for us all."

Mayor Joe Hogsett vowed transparency and said the investigation into the shooting will “stringently follow protocol.”

“We will continue to engage local faith and community leaders to reiterate a commitment to handling this process with openness, transparency, and compassion,” Hogsett said in a statement.

The traffic stop

Officers stopped Bailey's vehicle about 1:45 a.m. near Burdsal Parkway and East Riverside Drive. Why the officers pulled him over is unclear. About 10 minutes later Bailey drove off with a woman in the passenger seat, police said. A police chase ensued.

Police chase and crash

Bailey led officers on a short chase that traveled about a mile and was over in less than a minute, police said. Bailey crashed the car and stopped near 23rd and Aqueduct streets. The car bent a chain-link fence and left tire ruts in the grass.

Officers see Bailey reach down

As Dinnsen and Howard approached, police said, Bailey reached down toward the center console of his sedan. Both officers fired their weapons. Bailey was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Eskenazi Hospital.

Passenger arrested

Bailey's passenger, Shiwanda Ward, 26, was unhurt. She was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia. She was booked and released on Thursday.

Bailey's history

Bailey had amassed 11 felony cases since 1996, including convictions on charges of resisting law enforcement, battery, drug possession, robbery and auto theft, according to online court records. A Feb. 2 charge of theft was pending.

IMPD policy

According to IMPD policy, officers must have a reasonable expectation that their lives, or the lives of others, were endangered before they can use lethal force.

“We have to assume that that was the mindset of those officers when they pulled that trigger,” Roach said Thursday.

Call for calm

The Rev. James "Dynamite" Black of the Ten Point Coalition urged residents to avoid lashing out until the public knows what happened.

“We need to wait and not create a more violent situation,” Black said. “We should focus on coming together and praying on it because it impacts everybody.”

What's next

IMPD is conducting one investigation aimed to determine whether the officers followed all department rules and regulations. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry's office is conducting an overlapping but separate investigation into whether a crime may have been committed.

IMPD vehicles are not typically equipped with dash cams. The department does not have body cameras for its officers. Ward, Bailey's passenger, is the only other known witness to the shooting, police said.