Councilman requests review of misconduct accusations against chief of Lawrence Police Department
Chief accused of striking handcuffed prisoner
Last Updated: 106 days ago
LAWRENCE, Ind. - A member of the Lawrence Common Council has asked state police to investigate claims that the chief of Lawrence police struck a handcuffed prisoner.
Dave Parnell, 4th District councilman, is calling for an investigation into the alleged misconduct of Lawrence Police Chief Michael Walton.
The incident in question reportedly occurred in January 2012 at Lawrence Police Headquarters within weeks of Walton becoming chief.
A police officer, who claimed to be an eyewitness to the incident, said Walton grabbed an unruly handcuffed prisoner around the neck with both hands and then slammed him into the wall.
The officer relayed the story in front of four other on-duty officers who then relayed the incident to former Lawrence policeman and former councilman Stan Stephens.
Walton fired Stephens for alleged conduct unbecoming a police officer for remarks he made about the chief while off duty. Stephens is currently appealing his termination.
Parnell said he wants to bring Walton's reported misconduct to light in the wake of criminal charges filed against another Lawrence police officer -- Gabe Slaybaugh -- who is accused of kicking a suspected shoplifter in the parking lot of a retail store.
Walton referred the Slaybaugh investigation to IMPD, who obtained criminal charges.
"That's not ethical. It's not right. It's not fair to the other police officers," Parnell said. "What goes around comes around. I mean, if he's going to prosecute an officer for misconduct, then he needs to be looked into for misconduct as well."
Stephens echoed Parnell's concerns about Walton avoiding scrutiny while Slaybaugh faces charges.
"…this is pretty hypocritical because the chief can get away with grabbing a guy by the throat and put him up against the wall in our squad room, however, they're having Gabe investigated for possible battery in a line of duty action," Stephens said.
Walton declined to comment on the matter.
Parnell's letter was sent to state police Sunday. There is no word yet on whether they have agreed to pursue the investigation.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.