Indianapolis police Officer David Butler gets 8-year sentence on robbery, official misconduct charge

Butler robbed Hispanic men during traffic stops

INDIANAPOLIS - Suspended Indianapolis police Officer David Butler received an eight-year sentence Friday after he was found guilty earlier this month of two counts each of robbery and official misconduct.

Three years of Butler's sentence will be spent in prison, with a year of home detention. He will be on probation for the remaining four years.

During the probation, Butler must perform 80 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay $2,700 in restitution to two victims.

"They take an oath to serve and protect. Even people who weren't from this country knew that you are supposed to be able to trust the police, and in this situation that trust was broken," said Deputy Prosecutor Anne Harrigan.

A jury determined that Butler targeted Hispanic men for traffic stops and then robbed them.

In one incident in 2011, Emiliano Vasquez said Butler took his wallet and made him stand by the officer's car during a traffic stop at a gas station.

Vasquez was not ticketed, but when he returned to his car and examined his wallet, he found his money was gone. Some of that stop was captured on surveillance video.

In all, there were three victims in three separate traffic stops, and none of suspects knew each other.

The Hispanic community has been watching this case closely.

IndyLatino.com has posted articles and encouraged people to make comments on a Facebook page.

"Reassurance that the criminal justice system does work equally under the law for anyone who is here. That is a very important message," said Patricia Castenada.

The sentence came after Butler's second trial. The first trial on the same charges ended with a hung jury. Butler has been suspended from IMPD, pending termination.

 

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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