Evansville, IN — In what many police accountability critics consider a measly slap on the wrist, Indiana's Evansville Police Department (EPD) suspended one of their own for five days without pay. Sgt. Rob Hahn was caught on police body camera footage punching a handcuffed suspect in his testicles.
EPD spokesman Sgt. Jason Cullum said Sgt. Hahn was called to assist a felony warrant arrest on a suspect who was residing at a local Evansville motel. Cullum said Hahd "did a couple of things that violated our use of force policy." For starters, after handcuffing the suspect, Hahn shoved the suspect's head against the wall.
As the Courier & Press reports:
The encounter started when officers were serving an out-of-county warrant on a man in August at the Arrowhead Motel on North Fares Avenue. Hahn and three patrol officers arrived to arrest the suspect.
When the man did not open his door, the officers went inside the motel room and found him standing in the bathroom on the phone.
Body camera video shows the man was promptly handcuffed. He was not resisting arrest when Hahn shoved and later hit him.
After manhandling the suspect, Cullum said Hahn threw the man on the motel room's bed. As Hahn walked by the man lying on the bed, he punched the man in his genitals.
"As he walked by he punched the individual in the groin area," Cullum said.
As TFTP reviewed the body camera footage, it was noted the suspect repeatedly objected to being punched in the privates. He demanded to speak with Hahn's supervisor about the incident.
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Adding insult to injury, when the suspect confronted Hahn, asking him why he did what he did, the officer of the law, who is supposed to operate with a high level of integrity, lied about having hit the man in the testicles.
In the video, one can clearly see Hahn walk by and punch the man in the genitals, and then someone can be heard laughing about it. We played the video a few times in order to confirm our suspicions, but it appears as though someone is laughing during the time the suspect is writhing in pain from being punched.
After several apparently painful minutes, the man was able to regain his composure long enough to be able to get to his feet and make his way to the squad car. Then he confronted Hahn.
"That was wrong! Ya'll were wrong for that!" "Why did you punch me in the nuts, man?" the man asked, to which Hahn responded, "I didn't do shit to you! You've got the wrong motherfucker!" Hahn insisted, "I didn't lay a hand on you buddy."
Hahn insisted he should have simply turned himself in for the outstanding warrant, implying nothing bad would have happened to him if he had. The man responded, "That doesn't mean you have to punch me in the nuts!" he said. Again Hahn lied, "I didn't touch ya!"
The entire incident serves to illustrate what many people already know. Police will routinely victimize a suspect's civil rights, treat them with indignity, and then lie about it when confronted. Fortunately, Hahn did the right thing and turned himself in. But we wonder if he would have done so if the victim, in this case, had just remained silent. We don't think so.
It's important that each citizen flex their rights and use all available measures to hold police accountable for their actions. As a result of Hahn's misconduct, and his five-day unpaid suspension, the man will likely be able to file a civil lawsuit and collect a settlement for damages sustained in the contact with Evansville Police Department. Unfortunately, the Evansville taxpayer will likely foot the bill.