On April 25, 2022, Herman Whitfield, III was experiencing a mental health crisis at his parents' home. His mother called for an ambulance, but six Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers showed up instead.
Without any threat or provocation, IMPD officers tasered Herman III twice, double handcuffed him, kept him prone on his chest and ignored his cries for help. Then, officers waited approximately three minutes for paramedics to arrive as Herman III laid on his chest and motionless on his parents' living room floor.
After killing Herman III, IMPD further victimized his parents by telling them that they tasered Herman III “just a little bit”; ordering them not to leave their house to go to the hospital to see their son; searching their home within minutes of killing him and without a warrant; and threatening Herman’s mother with arrest simply because she objected to a search of their home.
In July 2022, the coroner’s office released its determination that the IMPD killed Herman III. IMPD has refused the family's and community calls to release the complete and unedited body camera footage. And, IMPD has not terminated the police officers who killed Herman III and made his parents witness the homicide of their son.
"...IMPD has taken every opportunity to obscure the facts and present a distorted view of what happened."
- Mrs. Gladys Whitfield -
We will reflect on the legacy of Dr. King, present speakers and raise awareness about and demand accountability and justice for the police homicide of Herman Whitfield III.
Learn more and support our efforts
KEEP HERMAN WHITFIELD III'S NAME IN THE AIR - SHARE THIS NEWS WIDELY
ON DECEMBER 27, 2022, a federal judge denied the City of Indianapolis & the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's request to delay the release of the body camera footage from the six officers who killed Herman Whitfield III on April 25, 2022. The judge also denied their request to restrict the release of the footage to only the family's attorney.
The Whitfield family's attorneys, Justice for Herman Whitfield III, and the Indianapolis community have been calling for the release of the complete footage for months now. But, the City & IMPD had to be forced/ordered by a federal court to release the complete footage to the family's attorney. Since the court also denied the request to restrict the release of the footage, it is possible that the complete footage could be released to the public as well.
The release of the complete and unedited body camera footage is Demand #1 of the Justice for Herman Whitfield III campaign. We will await the release of the footage before we consider this demand to be satisfied.
So, we'll continue to track and give updates on this case and share what we learn from the body cam footage when it's released. Meanwhile, we are still waiting to find out if the officers will face criminal charges for the homicide of Herman Whitfield III.
Read additional details about the court's order from the Indianapolis Recorder:
Release the Complete & Unedited Body Camera Footage for Every Officer Who Went to the Whitfield Home on April 25, 2022 to Attorneys, the Press, Organizers & the Public
Terminate Every Officer Involved in the Homicide of Herman Whitfield, III and the Violation of His Parents' Rights to Prevent Harm to Other Community Members
Arrest & Prosecute & Imprison Every Officer Involved in the Homicide of Herman Whitfield III and the Violation of His Parents' Rights
Request U.S. Department of Justice & FBI Investigations of the Homicide of Herman Whitfield III & IMPD Policies and Practices
Since April 25, 2022, we have been in the depths of sadness, grief, trauma, despair and fear after being forced to witness the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department police officers brazenly brutalize and kill our son in our faces in our home. What we experienced that day and since is every parent’s worst and continuing nightmare. However, we have summoned our faith, courage and strength to share what happened that day because we need community support at this time and we believe that it is important for all of the Indianapolis community and the world to know what the IMPD did to our son, us, our family, and our community. We also share this statement because we are only one of many families forever harmed by the epidemic of police violence and we wish to publicly express our support for and stand for justice with the many people, in Indianapolis and throughout the country, who have been recklessly traumatized and killed by this country’s extrajudicial policing practices.
Herman Whitfield, III was a child prodigy, phenomenally gifted Black pianist, and composer, and our dearly loved son. But, whether Herman III was exceptional or ordinary does not matter - he was a human. He was a beautiful, caring, gentle, and sensitive human. And, he was a member of the Indianapolis community in need of compassion and care. Yet, at the lowest point of Herman III’s life, the IMPD denied him any compassion as they brutalized and killed him – with no justification for doing so. We think that it has clearly been shown, even with video edited by the IMPD, that the IMPD did not follow its own procedures or policy when they killed Herman III.
Before daylight on April 25, 2022, Herman III was experiencing unexpected severe mental health symptoms and had a minor injury to his face. We were never fearful of our son and he never threatened us in any way. We simply wanted Herman to go to the hospital. We called 911 and requested urgent medical care to help our son as we understood that health professionals and negotiators could help us get Herman III the care that he needed. Instead of an ambulance, six IMPD officers arrived at our home. We were confused to see the IMPD officers. When they came to our door, Herman III's father, Herman Jr., asked the officers where the ambulance was and we told the officers that we wanted Herman III to go to the hospital. The officers never told us that they intended to use tasers or handcuffs on our son. And, we never considered that this type of force would ever be used in responding to a call to help our son - an unarmed and non-threatening person in need of medical care.
We were with our son the entire time that the IMPD officers interacted with him - he was never aggressive and he never posed any threat to us or any of the officers. Without any provocation or warning, to Herman III or us, the IMPD officers tasered our son - once, and then, again. Then, the officers double handcuffed him, kept him positioned with pressure on his chest, and didn't move him even after he cried out that he could not breathe. Then, our son stopped speaking and he stopped moving. When his mother, Gladys, repeatedly asked an IMPD officer what was wrong with Herman III - why he was not moving - the officer told us that he was alright and they tasered him just a little bit. With this air of callousness and apathy, IMPD officers killed our son before our faces in our living room.
According to the coroner's report, IMPD called the paramedics and waited about three minutes as our son lay on his chest and motionless on our living room floor. When the paramedics came into our home, someone finally tried to save Herman III's life, but the paramedics could not resuscitate him. Then, they put him on a stretcher and took him outside. Within minutes of killing our son in front of us, IMPD officers searched our home without a warrant and without permission (and only obtained a warrant later). They also threatened to arrest Gladys when she told them that they did not have permission to search our home.
Rather than escort us to the hospital to spend our last few moments with our son, the police told us that we could not leave our home. So, we called an attorney for help. Meanwhile, we managed to escape our home by backing out of our garage, while the police chased us as we left our driveway. By the time we arrived at the hospital, we were told that our son had been pronounced dead and that we could not see him. But, we insisted and, several hours later, we were finally allowed to see our son's body - and only under IMPD's watch.
In July 2022, after nearly three months of waiting, we received the coroner's report which confirmed that IMPD caused Herman III’s death and documented extensive cuts and internal bleeding in Herman’s head, neck, chest, abdomen, arms, wrists, and left knee and ankle.
Since April 2022, IMPD has refused our requests and others multiple calls to release the complete and unedited body camera footage from all of the police officers who came to our home. Instead, the police have released only a voice-over narrated, heavily edited, and skewed compilation of the body camera footage. Even this video footage, that IMPD edited, shows that IMPD did not follow its own procedures or policies or the law when they killed our son. Yet, the IMPD officers who killed our son have not been fired.
In our efforts to seek justice for Herman III and inform the public about what IMPD did to our son, family, neighborhood, and the Indianapolis community, we have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Indianapolis and we ask for the community to join us in demanding that city officials and police IMMEDIATELY do the following:
1) Release the complete and unedited body camera footage from every officer who came to our home on April 25, 2022 to our attorneys, the press, local organizers, and the public;
2) Terminate all of the officers who were involved in the killing of our son and violation of our rights to ensure that they do not harm any other community members; and
3) Fully comply with the prosecutor's office as it considers arrest of and criminal charges against all of the officers who were involved in the homicide of Herman III.
We sincerely hope that you will support us in our efforts to seek justice for Herman Whitfield, III by bringing increased attention to IMPD's killing of our son, sharing news of the circumstances surrounding his death far and wide, and publicly standing with us in our demands for 1) transparency from IMPD and 2) the termination, criminal prosecution, and incarceration of all officers involved in the circumstances surrounding the killing of Herman Whitfield, III.
The Whitfield Family
Point of Contact to Support the Family, Organizing & Community Actions:
Point of Contact for Press, Media, Communications & Inquiries:
Israel Nunez Cruz CRUZ LAW FIRM
148 E. Market Street, Suite 501
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
TEL: (317) 423-9668
FAX: (317) 423-9677
Richard A. Waples
WAPLES & HANGER
410 N. Audubon Road
Indianapolis, Indiana 46219
TEL: (317) 357-0903
FAX: (317) 357-0275
News & Press Releases about Herman Whitfield III:
More Articles about IMPD & Police Accountability in Indiana:
**Overall Score for POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY: 3%
**MISCONDUCT Complaints Upheld: 2%
**EXCESSIVE FORCE Complaints Upheld: 1%
**DISCRIMINATION Complaints Upheld: 0%
**CRIMINAL MISCONDUCT Complaints Upheld: 11%
Between 2012 and 2020, INDIANA HAS GIVEN MORE MONEY to POLICE THAN to HEALTH and HOUSING for the community statewide.
Publications & Research on Policing & IMPD:
This opera, in one act, centers on the administration of capital punishment in the US.
- Herman Whitfield, III -
- RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT HERMAN III -
- DEMAND TRANSPARENCY -
- DEMAND ARREST -
- DEMAND CRIMINAL CHARGES -
- DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY -
- DEMAND FEDERAL INVESTIGATION -
- STAND FOR OUR COMMUNITY -
We have respect for your privacy and we do not share your information with businesses or non-profits organizations or subscribe you to other lists. If you have additional privacy concerns, please email us directly from your email account.
Copyright ©2022 Justice for Herman Whitfield III