Police Chief Calls For Charges In Staged Fight

Ciesielski: Fake Fight Stupid, Dangerous

Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Paul Ciesielski said Monday that charges are warranted against those involved in a staged fight at a youth symposium last month that left an officer injured.

Ciesielski's call comes as sentiment of the rank and file on the department grows angrier, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Ciesielski called the concocted fight, which happened on July 24 at Municipal Gardens both stupid and dangerous, if not criminal.

"I am going to pursue that, at least talk to the prosecutor's office to see if this is a case of charges to be filed," he said. "At minimum, there was a battery committed on an officer."

Authorities said the staged altercation was staged by James Harrington, a pastor at Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church.

Sgt. Matthew Grimes was asked to speak at the anti-violence symposium, but unbeknownst to the officer, Harrington had arranged for a fake altercation in the crowd.

Grimes responded to the fight, and his back was injured as he tried to get two men to stop fighting, police said.

Harrington said the scenario was an effort to test the officer's response to an argument involving two black men.

Church officials on Sunday condemned the actions of Harrington, claiming the church was not involved in organizing the symposium.

"You get to see how one of the officers reacted to that," Harrington said. "We have to have live demonstrations of violence carried on by professional actors who are trained to do what they do."

Ennis Adams Jr. said he was one of the role players in the verbal, then physical altercation.

"It was a performance not to bait an officer. It was not to draw any negative attention to the police department in any way, shape or form," Adams said.

Marion County Public Safety Director Frank Straub and the Fraternal Order of Police expressed outrage in a story 6News and TheIndyChannel.com first broke on Friday.

The department has warned officers, from command staff to the street, to beware of an increase of incidents in which the public is attempting to bait officers.

"We have seen an increase in false complaints about police brutality and those type of things," Ciesielski said. "We are proving (them) to be false through our own investigations, and people have to realize, we're not the bad guys, we're not the enemy."

The Department of Public Safety said the incident is still under investigation. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office said it will meet with police to determine what, if any, criminal charges might be filed against those involved in the incident.