Teen In Police Brutality Investigation Arrested

Attorney Says Brandon Johnson Targeted

A biracial teen at the center of a high-profile police brutality investigation in 2010 was arrested Wednesday night at his home on Indianapolis' east side.

Indianapolis police had gone to the 7700 block of Mountain Stream Way with a warrant for an arrest at the home where Brandon Johnson, 16, lives.

When they arrived at the home, police said they found a gun, bullets, drugs and gang paraphernalia there.

Johnson was arrested on charges of criminal gang activity and dangerous possession of a firearm. His two older brothers, Miketavious Jackson, 19, and Terrell Jackson, 18, were arrested on drug possession and criminal gang activity charges.

Sgt. Linda Jackson told 6News' Joanna Massee that the arrests were the culmination of an investigation of gang activity and narcotics.

Johnson's attorney, Stephen Wagner, said police targeted his client unjustly.

"We have serious questions about both of these charges, about the entire police action," he told Massee.

Wagner said 14 officers stormed the house and that charges against Johnson are retaliatory. Wagner claimed that the only gun in the house was properly registered and that he suspects the gun charge was related to a cell phone picture of a gun.

Wagner also claimed that the criminal gang activity charge related to a sweatshirt Johnson was wearing in memoriam of a friend who died in a shooting.

Wagner said Johnson's mother has been harassed, was pulled over recently and held for an hour with no charges filed.

"Police cars driving by at all hours of the night, slowly stopping in front of the house. Mrs. Chandler being pulled over in her car recently and questioned for over an hour before being released without any charges. We see a pattern of harassment," Wagner said.

Wagner said Johnson is being charged as an adult. He was being held in a juvenile facility on Thursday.

"We are working with the city, or attempting to work with the city, toward resolving that claim, but there is a rift between the police and the chief and the mayor, and the police themselves, apparently, are trying to take this matter into their own hands," Wagner said.

Johnson was at the center of a firestorm of racial tension in Indianapolis last summer, when he suffered a swollen eye, bruises to his face and chipped teeth in an encounter with police who were arresting his brother.

The case sparked allegations of police brutality and led to internal investigations and a federal probe that is still ongoing.

Officer Jerry Piland, who was accused of using excessive force in that incident, was later exonerated by a merit board.

The Rev. Charles Harrison, who condemned the beating, was not quick to jump to Johnson's defense Thursday.

"You know, I don't know if it was retaliation (by police) or not, but even if it was, and the police came in the home, why would there be drugs in the home and gang paraphernalia and a gun?" he asked.

Deputy Mayor of Neighborhoods Olgen Williams said he did not believe claims that the family was targeted by police.

"No, I don't believe that. We have a good public safety organization," he said.

When asked if he feared Johnson's arrest would further erode race race relations in Indianapolis, he said, "Well, anytime somebody's a race baiter it don't take much. You step on a grass hopper that's the wrong color, they're upset."

The Rev. Al Sharpton came to Indianapolis twice to protest officials' handling of the Johnson incident, and Johnson's family members vowed that the case "isn't over."