Three Muncie Police Officers indicted for using excessive force and attempting to cover it up
INDIANAPOLIS – 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. Today’s indictment was announced 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 Robert Middleton.
“No one is above the law,” Minkler said. “The civil rights violations alleged by the grand jury’s indictment are very serious. Unfortunately, misconduct by a few can shake the public’s confidence in the many men and women in law enforcement who proudly and professionally protect the public day in and day out. Today’s indictment should make clear the commitment of this Office and the Department of Justice to reassure the public and hold accountable those who violate the civil rights of others even though they wear a uniform.”
“Today’s indictment sends a strong message that those who violate their oath to protect and serve the public will be held accountable for their actions,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Middleton, FBI Indianapolis. “The FBI is committed to preserving public trust,
especially in those who have sworn to uphold the law. To this end, the FBI will vigorously pursue civil rights violations.”
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 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.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal civil rights violations, including those perpetrated by law enforcement officers. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 7.1.