Three Muncie Police Officers Indicted for Using Excessive Force and Attempting to Cover It Up
A federal grand jury in Indianapolis, Indiana, returned a 12-count indictment against two officers – Joseph Chase Winkle, 34, and Jeremy Gibson, 30 – and one sergeant, Joseph Krejsa, 50, of the Muncie Police Department for their roles in using excessive force against arrestees and attempting to cover up the misconduct. Wednesday’s indictment was announced today by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler for the Southern District of Indiana, and FBI Indianapolis Acting Special Agent in Charge Alex Middleton.
The indictment charges Winkle with nine felony offenses, Gibson with one felony offense, and Krejsa with two felony offenses. Winkle is charged with depriving four arrestees of their rights to be free from excessive force (resulting in bodily injury and/or involving the use of a dangerous weapon), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242, and writing false reports about his use of force against those four arrestees and two additional arrestees, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519. According to the indictment, Winkle’s actions resulted in one of these arrestees suffering serious injuries and in another arrestee being knocked unconscious.
Gibson is charged with one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 242 for depriving an arrestee of his right to be free from excessive force by stomping on and delivering knee strikes to the arrestee’s head, which resulted in bodily injury and involved the use of a dangerous weapon.
Krejsa is charged with two counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1519 for writing false reports related to two of Winkle’s excessive force incidents. According to the indictment, on one occasion, Krejsa minimized the level of force used by Winkle during one arrest, and, on another occasion, falsely represented that a different Muncie Police Department sergeant cleared Winkle of his use of force when it was actually Krejsa who conducted that review.
The maximum penalties for the charged crimes are 10 years of imprisonment for each of the deprivation-of-rights offenses and 20 years of imprisonment for each of the false report offenses.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Trial Attorneys Mary J. Hahn and Katherine G. DeVar of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas J. Linder are prosecuting the case.