4 Indiana officers charged in excessive force allegations

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Four Muncie police officers have been indicted on charges accusing them of using excessive force during arrests or of trying to cover up that misconduct, a federal prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Officers Joseph Chase Winkle, 34, and Jeremy Gibson, 30, and Sgt. Joseph Krejsa, were initially charged in a 12-count indictment in March 2020.

But acting U.S. Attorney John Childress announced Wednesday that a 17-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury charges all three with additional counts while also charging Officer Corey Posey, 28.

Winkle now faces 11 felony offenses for alleged excessive force that includes kicking, punching, knee-striking, and using a Taser without justification on seven people during arrests, injuring them. He is also accused of writing false reports about that alleged excessive force, Childress said in a news release.

The allegations stem from events that took place between March 2018 and February 2019, when Joe Winkle — Joseph Chase Winkle’s father — was police chief, The Star Press reported.

Joseph Chase Winkle is on administrative leave without pay and has also been suspended by the Muncie Police Merit Commission, the newspaper reported. Gibson and Posey are on administrative leave, while Krejsa is in the process of retiring from the department.

Gibson faces two counts alleging he used excessive force on two people, including punching them without justification during arrests, and one count alleging he wrote a false report about one of those arrests.

Krejsa faces two counts alleging that he wrote false reports related to two allegations of excessive force against Winkle, while Posey faces one count of obstruction and one count of writing a false report about one of Winkle’s arrests.

The Muncie Police Department’s current leader, Chief Nate Sloan, said in a statement Wednesday that the department “continues to focus on community engagement, policy revision, officer accountability, and continuing education and training for officers.”

Muncie’s current mayor, Dan Ridenour, said in a statement that “we believe that the city administration and the police department have a zero tolerance for these types of actions. We will continue to hold to that and work with anything the justice department needs during their investigation.”