Ind. Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Black Motorist; Family Demands Answers

Aaron Bailey (CBS screenshot)
Aaron Bailey (CBS screenshot)

An Indianapolis man was shot dead by police officers Thursday morning, leaving a grieving family answers.


According to CBS Indianapolis, the shooting took place around 2 a.m. Thursday on the city’s northwest side. The incident, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, started with a routine traffic stop, but the driver ended up leading police on a high-speed chase before crashing the car at an intersection.

Details of the shooting remain unclear, but according to the news station, at some point after the crash, the two officers shot and killed the driver, identified as 45-year-old Aaron Bailey.

The police chief hedged his words, not coming out and defending his officers right away, but also not declaring them in the wrong, either. The chief said that he does not yet have answers as to whether the shooting was justified.

“This is something every city, police chief and mayor hopes never happens, but it has happened here in Indianapolis,” IMPD Police Chief Bryan Roach said.

Roach acknowledged that no weapon was found inside Bailey’s car and that the department policy is clear on when officers have the right to use deadly force, although he could not say if it was applicable in this case.

“All I know is that at some point, to be within policy, the officers had to be in fear for their life. So there had to be something that was done ... to trigger that mindset in our officers,” Roach added.


“I want justice and I want answers,” one of Bailey’s daughters told the news station. “My father didn’t deserve this. I wasn’t there. There’s three sides to every story—there’s his side, the police side and God’s side. But the truth will come out.”

A woman was in the vehicle with Bailey at the time of the shooting. That woman, 26-year-old Shiwanda Ward, was taken into custody on drug-related charges. Ward was not harmed in the shooting.


Roach promised that the investigation into Bailey’s death would be open and transparent.

“This is an opportunity to increase the trust the community has for us. Everybody is watching,” Roach said.


The two officers involved in the shooting, who remain unidentified, were not hurt. The chief told the news station that the officers will have to go before a grand jury to determine if charges will be filed. In the meantime, they will be put on routine leave while the case is being investigated.

Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement about the incident, noting:

The loss of any life in our city is a tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers are with all individuals and families affected by last night’s incident. Our residents expect that IMPD will stringently follow protocol by fully investigating and reviewing the actions that were taken. We will continue to engage local faith and community leaders to reiterate a commitment to handling this process with openness, transparency, and compassion.


Read more at CBS Indianapolis.


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Meanwhile, 100 miles south, a guy leads police on an hour long chase and is arrested alive by about 20 officers. I’m scratching my head, what could be the difference?