The stupidity of people continues to astound me.
IMPD officer hurt during staged fight
Updated: Jul 30, 2010 11:31 PM EDT
The incident took place at Municipal Gardens on the east side.
Enlarge this picture
A minister from the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church reportedly staged the fight.Richard Essex/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - A Metro police officer is on desk duty after being injured while breaking up a staged fight.
The officer was invited to give a presentation to a church group at Municipal Gardens. Sometime during his talk, two men started to argue in the back of the room. The officer tried to break it up and was thrown to the ground.
"First, it was verbal, then it became physical and the officer doing his duty went to intervene," said FOP President Sgt. William Owensby.
The officer had been asked to teach a lesson on dealing with the police.
"When I first heard it, I thought, 'That is too stupid to be true. There is no way someone is that stupid to stage something like that'," said Sgt. Owensby.
It was a staged fight, one to gauge how a police officer would react. The problem, the police department did not stage the fight, they say a minister from the Mt. Vernon Community Missionary Baptist Church did.
"The minister, facilitating the event, jumped in between them and said, 'Don't shoot! This is staged. This has been staged'," said Sgt. Owensby.
Municipal Gardens is more than a place for kids to come and play basketball, they also offer classes. Reverend Harrington was teaching a class on how to deal with the police. The question is - what is the lesson?
"People are testing an officer with a loaded gun with a Taser, with pepper spray, with a baton. I think that is totally stupid, to be perfectly honest with you," said Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub.
As a result of attempting to break up the fight, the officer was injured.
"He could have a back problem that lasts the rest of his career and how fair is that to that officer?" asked Dr. Straub. "He went there, well-intentioned, to do a positive thing and somebody has this contrived test and now you have an injured officer."
The minister did not return phone calls by Eyewitness News.
"I think it went way outside of their expectations and I hope they pay dearly for it," said Sgt. Owensby.
Police say they are investigating who staged the incident and why.