Last week, the IMPD released footage from the August 3 killing of Gary Harrell on their YouTube under the title “Critical Incident Video – OIS 3400 N Parker Ave.” There is no descriptive or contextualizing information. The 7:18 long video begins with a 1:33 segment extolling how bodycams “increase accountability” and “enhance public trust.” The narrator does say the video presents “preliminary information” of an ongoing investigation, but in reality, it presents selectively edited, and intentionally constructed footage along with the narration. In other words, the IMPD’s video begins with a lie, and ends in one too.
The day after the footage was made public, the Indianapolis branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation released an objective and realistic analysis of the video of the murder of Gary Dwayne Harrell (affectionately known by his family as Baby Gee) by IMPD officer Douglas Correll.
We analyzed the video to reveal the inaccuracies and omissions in the IMPD’s story of what happened on August 3. Despite its highly subjective and biased editing, their video clearly shows that Harrell posed no threat to Correll and the reasons the police cited as justification for Gary’s murder were not known before Correll shot Harrell in the back. It is almost certain the full footage will completely contradict the IMPD’s narrative, as it did in the case of Herman Whitfield III.
PSL Indianapolis releases an accurate version of IMPD footage with factual context
Because the mainstream media outlets don’t challenge the edited and narrated video, the story told by Harrell’s killers dominates headlines and frames public discourse. At the request of several concerned citizens who know the history and reality of IMPD’s excessive use of force, PSL Indianapolis has released our own version of the IMPD’s video that includes key information that was intentionally excluded from not only the video but every word the police have said thus far about Harrell’s murder.
Police have cited Harrell holding a gun as reason to murder him. However, at no point did Gary brandish or aim the gun at Officer Correll. Indiana is a permitless carry state, meaning a person who is at least 18 years of age and not otherwise prohibited from carrying or possessing a handgun under state or federal law is not required to obtain or possess a license or permit from the state to carry a handgun in Indiana according to Indiana Code 35-47-2-3. IMPD continues to cite Harrell’s criminal history, but he was released from prison over 10 years ago and Correll was not aware of Harrell’s past when he murdered him.
With serious violent history, officer Correll should not have been in possession of a firearm
Furthermore, according to Indiana Code 35-47-4-5 Indiana law generally prohibits people from possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a “serious violent felony,” which is generally defined to include, among other things, violent conduct that results in serious bodily injury, involves battery with a deadly weapon, or stalking with credible threats of serious bodily injury or death. By these standards Correll should not be in possession of a firearm as, in 2016, he seriously and violently assaulted Joshua Harris before falsely arresting him.
The IMPD demonizes victim, remains silent on murderer
Since his murder, there has been a smear campaign against Gary Harrell, whose only crime was being a Black man. Harrell reasonably feared for his life when an armed man–with a history of racist police violence and false arrest–pulled him over.
The day after releasing the video–20 days after killing Harrell–one news report cited an anonymous IMPD source claiming Harrell was “in possession of a handgun and cocaine” when he was murdered. Why would the police wait so long to release this information and why was it done anonymously? These questions are only pertinent because they demonstrate a clear effort to demonize the victim. Whether or not Harrell had any illicit drugs on him at the time has no relevance to this case.
Not just Correll: Cops have documented history of drug dealing, violence, and other crimes
Given the prevalence of police corruption and drug-dealing, it is pertinent to question if Correll was in possession or under the influence of illicit drugs when he shot and killed Harrell. The evidence of such corruption is particularly important given that no one polices the police. For example, after the Baltimore Rebellion in 2015, headlines circulated about drugs stolen from pharmacies flooding the streets. As it turns out, a member of the Baltimore police’s Gun Trace Task Force stole the drugs and sold them to a drug dealer in exchange for 50 percent of the profits.
Several IMPD cops have been arrested for crimes in the last year or so. In March 2023, an IMPD seargant pleaded guilty to drunk driving after being arrested four months prior. As recently as August 27, IMPD cop Glen Schmidt was arrested for domestic assault after beating and strangling a woman. These are just a few cases that we know about.
IMPD’s use of bodycams is the result of their own criminal violence. Indianapolis launched its bodycam program three years ago after they murdered three people in eight hours: Dreasjon Reed, McHale Rose, and Ashlynn Lisby. Lisby was eight months pregnant when a cop, Jonathan Henderson, ran her over. The baby died shortly after birth.
Moreover, bodycam footage, as research shows, has “not produced dramatic changes in police behavior for better or worse.”
The people organized: The only way to defeat racist police terror
It is absolutely imperative that we do everything possible to counter the IMPD’s lies, slander, and distortions. They have immense financial and political resources and power. Everything is stacked in their favor. But we have the power of the people and community.
Not only do we need to utilize every means possible to counter the IMPD’s false narrative; we need to organize to demand that:
- Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears charge Correll immediately and to the full extent of the law;
- Mears, and not a special prosecutor, oversees the trial;
- A fast and speedy trial that takes place before this year’s elections;
- Correll be immediately removed from paid leave and that he returns all payment from the city received since August 3, 2023.
Despite centuries of oppression, Black people in the U.S. remain resilient and continue the fight for liberation. The struggle for justice for Gary Harrell is one part of that struggle today, and it begins with each of us. We won’t tolerate killer cops on our streets anymore and won’t stop fighting until IMPD’s reign of terror is over once and for all.
Justice for Baby Gee!