An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sergeant who was filmed stomping on a Black handcuffed man’s head in 2021 has pleaded guilty to violating the man’s civil rights.
Eric Huxley, 44, entered a guilty plea Monday in federal court to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison when sentenced, the Justice Department said.
“This police officer violently and callously assaulted a homeless man who posed no threat,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.
Huxley was on patrol on Sept. 24, 2021, when body camera footage captured him intentionally raising his right foot and stomping on the face of Jermaine Vaughn while Vaughn was restrained by two officers and unable to move, prosecutors said.
Vaughn was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors of disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement, but both charges were later dismissed. He filed a lawsuit in February against the city of Indianapolis.
As of Tuesday, Huxley remains suspended from the police force without pay pending a recommendation for termination to the citizen’s police merit board, the Indianapolis police department said in an email to HuffPost. The city’s police chief, Randal Taylor, recommended Huxley’s termination shortly after the incident.
Huxley’s attorney, John Kautzman, told reporters outside of the courthouse on Monday that his client has always been “remorseful” for his actions and he knows what he did was “thoughtless,” the Indianapolis Star reported.
Kautzman declined further comment to HuffPost Tuesday until after the federal sentencing hearing.
Huxley also faces state charges in relation to the incident. He was charged in Marion County with battery and official misconduct and has a hearing in that case scheduled for Tuesday, the Star reported.