Video confirms IMPD cop with history of racist brutality and false arrest killed Gary Harrell

The IMPD has finally, after 19 days of protest and pressure, released their edited and narrated footage from IMPD Officer Douglas Correll’s bodycam from August 3, when Correll shot Gary Harrell in the back and killed him on 34th St. and Parker Ave. Unfortunately, it is routine for the cops to release their own version of events on their own timeline because, the reasoning goes, they don’t want to “taint” their investigation into their own officers.

However, even the edited bodycam footage makes it clear that Correll did not have just cause to shoot Harrell in the back. What we can distill in the edited footage turned over to the public by IMPD is that Gary ran for his life that morning and is yet another victim of IMPD terror, more specifically, as we explain below, he was another victim of Correll’s racist violence.

Even police-slanted footage shows IMPD murdered Harrell

The video begins with IMPD officer Correll exiting his vehicle and walking up to Harrell. Harrell is outside of his vehicle, pointing towards 34th Street and asking the officer if he saw the woman in the road and that Harrell had to swerve to get out of her way. Correll asks Harrell for his license as Harrell gets back in his car. Correll tells him not to get back into his vehicle.

Moments later, Harrell is seen running away from the officer through a residential yard as Correll says, “Stop. Drop it.” Not even a second later, the cop fires two shots at Harrell, with the second shot ending Harrell’s life. In other words, he didn’t give Harrell a chance, something Harrell likely predicted the moment he saw those flashing lights behind him.

Stephen Wagner with Wagner Reese, LLP, the attorney representing the Harrell family, provided additional confirmation that this proves Correll violated federal law and IMPD policy. Even the partial and biased footage alone demonstrates “this unjustified shooting violated the U.S. Constitution and IMPD’s Use of Force policy revised in 2020.”

IMPD: Shoot first, lie later

By delaying the release, the police try to provide enough time for their narrative to circulate without any challenging narrative, wait out the community’s spontaneous and righteous anger, craft a narrative that justifies their actions, and demonize their victim. All the while, the cop or cops involved enjoy paid vacation at our expense.

Both IMPD Chief Randal Taylor and the Indianapolis city government, including the City-County Council and Mayor, support the unofficial policy of releasing evidence on their own accord. In November 2022, the city tried to block a court-ordered release of the IMPD’s complete bodycam footage of their murder of Herman Whitfield III earlier that year (fortunately, a federal court upheld the previous ruling).

Along with the video, Chief Taylor released a statement that read, in part:

Today the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released the critical incident video involving the shooting death of Gary Harrell. This release comes as a part of my commitment to transparency, and with the recognition of the tragic loss of Mr. Harrell and the lives impacted by this incident, including officers.”

If Taylor really cared about transparency, then why did he wait 19 days to release an edited and narrated video of Harrell’s murder? Why didn’t he immediately release the full, unedited footage? Why in other words, has the IMPD not yet told the public the whole truth?

To ask the question is to answer it.

The cops say that Correll’s actions were justified since Harrell was carrying a gun in a state where nearly 45% of the population owns guns. The video clearly shows that Harrell never once aimed, fired, or threatened to fire his weapon at the cop.

Correll didn’t give Harrell a chance to comply with his commands. We don’t need the full footage to know what really happened: IMPD Officer Douglas Correll shot a Black man in the back as he ran for his life. This is the state of Indianapolis and the context in which Mayor Joe Hogsett is trying to give around 30% of the city’s $1.56 billion 2024 budget.

Correll should have been fired and locked up after attacking Black man in 2016

The cops and city need to be held accountable for Harrell’s murder if only for the fact that Officer Correll should have been fired, charged, and locked up behind bars years ago. Instead, the city stepped in to save his job by ponying up hundreds of thousands of tax dollars in a settlement.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on July 2, 2016, Correll and IMPD Officer Linda Roeschlein arrived at Joshua Harris’ residence in response to a 911 call. Harris’ neighbor called the police after an unknown person shot Joshua in the foot. He needed medical treatment.

When Correll and his partner arrived, however, they didn’t listen to the unarmed and wounded victim. Instead, they walked past him and towards his house. When Harris, clearly wounded, tried explaining he needed help, Correll told him to “get the fuck out of my face.”

As Harris again cried for help and told the cops not to enter his property, asserting his Fourth Amendment rights, Correll attacked him.

Correll punched Harris in the face twice, causing Harris to fall to his knees. When he tried to stand up, Correll grabbed his shoulders and kneed him in his abdomen. The force of Correll’s strike crushed Harris’ spleen against his spine. He crumpled to the ground and went in and out of consciousness.

The same neighbor who called the police on behalf of the wounded Joshua witnessed the incident and tried to tell the officers that Harris was the victim and was the one for whom he had called the police.

Yet after assaulting Harris, Correll arrested and charged him. Correll claimed Harris raised a clench fist and threatened to punch Correll while Correll was in the process of violating Harris’ Fourth Amendment rights. A Marion County Court dismissed the charge against Harris.

Harris had to spend over two weeks in the hospital recovering from the attack, which resulted in a crushed spleen and injuries to his pancreas and small intestines.

IMPD and city spend millions to keep killer cops on the streets

Correll should have been fired immediately. He should still be behind bars.

Instead, the city settled the case to the tune of $380,000 dollars. In other words, the city would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect a racist cop than admit any wrongdoing.

A 2021 report by Beairshelle Edmé and Ashley Smith shows that, in only five years, the city spent over $16 million of taxpayer money to keep these kinds of cops on the streets.

Time to act: We don’t have patience, we need justice!

Chief Taylor’s statement also asked for “the public’s patience and trust.” He did the same after his cops murdered Dreasjon Reed, McHale Rose, and Ashlynn Lisby in 2020.

While Chief Taylor calls for patience, the people call for justice! We have no trust in them and we have no more patience for their lies.

We demand Chief Taylor and Mayor Hogsett resign immediately, that Correll and all killer and brutal cops be fired and locked up, and that the city defund and disarm the IMPD.

The community is fed up. After marching for justice for Harrell and hosting a vigil on August 6, in addition to ongoing behind-the-scenes work, we have two opportunities to put our demands into action.

First, on August 25 the Indianapolis Liberation Center and PSL Indianapolis are hosting a special Black August Liberation Forum focusing on organizing for Black Liberation today. It will feature special guest speakers Travis Washington, founder of the “Hands Up Act,” and Pastor Jamil Campbell. Join us at the Southeast Community Center at 6:00 pm.

Second, we are organizing community members to show up to the City-County Building during the Public “Safety” and Criminal “Justice” Committee hearing on September 13 at 5:30 pm. No more resources to killer cops!

The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends our deepest condolences to Gary’s family, friends and community as they go through this difficult time. We will continue to fight by your side until Correll is where he belongs: behind bars.

People gather to protest Harrell’s murder in front of the IMPD’s North District headquarters in Washington Park. Credit: Indianapolis Liberation Center.