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Thread: IPD detective is accused of striking paraplegic

  1. #1
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    IPD detective is accused of striking paraplegic

    An Indianapolis police veteran is under criminal investigation after witnesses said the off-duty officer punched a paraplegic in the face, knocking him out of his wheelchair, after an angry exchange of words in an Eastside strip club.

    The Indianapolis Police Department internal affairs unit also is investigating the incident involving Detective Frank Hittel, IPD spokesman Lt. Paul Ciesielski said Tuesday. Hittel works for the department's safe streets task force.

    No charges have yet been filed, Ciesielski said.

    The paraplegic, Michael Farmer, 22, of Camby, said he was struck so hard that some of his teeth were chipped.

    Hittel is an eight-year IPD veteran who was in the news last week after he and another IPD officer discovered a body off I-70 in Henry County.

    Hittel could not be reached directly for comment. However, he told The Star, through a statement to Ciesielski, "I'm sorry. I made a mistake. I'm human."

    According to a police report, the incident occurred about 2:40 a.m. Saturday as Farmer and some friends were sitting by the pool table at Brad's Brass Flamingo, 4011 Southeastern Ave.

    At least four people, including one person who was not sitting with Farmer, told police they saw Hittel walk over to Farmer and strike him in the face, causing him to fall from his wheelchair. Several remembered Hittel saying, just before the blow, "You don't want none of this."

    Farmer told The Star that Hittel got angry after one of Farmer's friends said he didn't want to be sitting next to a table of police officers.

    Hittel was not in uniform, Farmer said.

    Farmer said his friend who made the comment left the area. Hittel then approached his table "and started mouthing everybody."

    Farmer, who was left paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident two years ago, said he told Hittel to leave. He indicated he might have made some other comments "about this and that," and he might have pointed at the officer. However, he didn't make any swinging motion at Hittel, he said.

    "I said, 'Hey, leave if you don't like it,' " Farmer recalled. "He asked what I was going to do about it. I said, 'I can't do much about it.' He punched me after that."

    According to witnesses, Hittel then turned and quickly left the club. Farmer said some friends helped him back into his wheelchair and later took him to Wishard Memorial Hospital to be checked out.

    Ciesielski said none of the other members of Hittel's party was a police officer. Hittel was at the strip club to attend a friend's bachelor party, he said.

    An unidentified police supervisor was called to the bar immediately after the incident and interviewed witnesses. Police Chief Jerry Barker ordered the internal affairs investigation.

    Hittel has received seven commendations or letters of appreciation over the course of his career and a one-day suspension without pay in 1998. The reason for the suspension is unknown.

    He is also one of the two officers who found the body of an unknown homicide victim in Henry County on Thursday.

    The officers were driving on undisclosed police business on I-70 when they stopped for a rest break and found the body behind an abandoned gas station along Ind. 109 near Knightstown. The victim is believed to be a Hispanic male, 17 to 25 years old, who had suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

    Ciesielski said the criminal and internal affairs investigations into the strip club incident could be completed later this week. The extent of departmental charges facing Hittel could depend on the outcome of the criminal investigation.

    Departmental discipline could range from verbal counseling to termination, he said. Also, officers cannot keep their jobs if they are convicted of a felony.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    ok, who got punched by the cop?

  3. #3
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    sounds like too much testosterone was pumping on all sides...and maybe a few too many drinks.

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