INDIANAPOLIS -- A man mistakenly shot by an Indianapolis police officer responding to an attempted carjacking call in August 2016 filed a federal excessive force lawsuit against the department Monday.
Carl Williams was shot in the upper groin when an IMPD officer responding to a 911 call at his house mistook him for the armed carjacking suspect that Williams and his wife had called about.
Williams, a mail carrier and former military policeman, was seriously wounded and had to undergo emergency hospitalization. At a press conference days later, Williams, who was then in a wheelchair, said doctors had made the decision to leave the bullet in his body.
"The only thing I can remember is intense pain, falling on the ground, and telling police officers 'I am the homeowner, why did you shoot me?'" Williams said at that time.
On Monday, Williams filed a federal civil suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana arguing that IMPD Officer Christopher Mills never gave identification or warning before opening fire and that IMPD was negligent in failing to ensure that Mills was properly trained – including failing to ensure that Mills and other officers had received implicit bias training:
“Officials and officers of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were well aware in 2016 that there was disproportionate tendency for police officers to shoot black males without warning and that these shootings were the product of a lack of training, especially in the area of implicit bias. The latter, resulting in a culture of indifference and tolerance of officers’ use of excessive force and their resorting to deadly force when not warranted. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s failure to properly or significantly discipline officers that apply excessive and unreasonable force has led to the acceptance of that conduct and the actions of Defendant Christopher Mills. Historically, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has failed to exercise proper discipline over officers, even in the most obvious examples of abuse and misconduct. The city of Indianapolis’s practices, customs and policies, as well as its failure to properly train and supervise, resulted in all of the injuries suffered by Carl Williams on August 23, 2016.”
The lawsuit claims that Mills’ actions “shocked the community conscience” and constitute a violation of Williams’ 14th and 4th Amendment rights.
Williams argues that his shooting constitutes assault and battery by Mills. The lawsuit asks for remuneration for medical and hospital expenses, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the injuries sustained by Williams.
Williams is being represented in the lawsuit by attorneys Richard D. Hailey and Mary Beth Ramey, of the Indianapolis law firm of Ramey & Hailey.
The city of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Officer Christopher Mills are all named as defendants in the suit. As of Tuesday evening, none of the defendants had filed a response with the court.