Lafayette, Indiana. March 2, 2022. Several community organizations have asked the U.S. Department  of Justice (DOJ) to investigate possible Civil Rights violations by officers of the Lafayette Police  Department during an incident which occurred on May 9, 2020. During the incident, documented in local and national print and broadcast media, a police officer ordered a canine to attack Richard Bailey, an  unarmed Black Lafayette resident, while he was pinned to the ground by police officers. The attack  resulted in severe injuries which required Bailey to be put in a medically induced coma for six days and  to be hospitalized for an additional five days. He continues to suffer from the physical and psychological  effects of the attack.

Bodycam video footage video released by the Lafayette Police Department shows some details of the  incident. In the video, police stop Bailey, following up on a complaint about a domestic altercation  phoned into 9-11. Bailey, seated on a moped, is ordered to dismount. He asks why he is being  detained and does not move or attempt to flee Without responding, two officers then pull Bailey off the  moped and pin him to the ground, while a third calls for a canine to attack. The dog bites into Bailey’s  neck and is allowed to continue mauling him for a full 30 seconds, while police officers shout at him to  put his hands behind his back.

The letter requesting the DOJ to investigate this incident asserts that the police officers violated Bailey’s  civil rights protected under the U.S. Constitution by the 4th Amendment, prohibiting “unreasonable  searches and seizures” and the 14th Amendment requiring “due process of law” and “equal protection of  the laws”.

The letter questions the conclusions of two special prosecutors, assigned to investigate the incident, who  concluded there were no criminal violations by Lafayette Police officers. The first special prosecutor  based her report solely on an investigation by the Indiana State Police, whereas the second prosecutor  did not identify his sources of evidence. Attempts to obtain further details of the work of the special  prosecutors via the Indiana Public Records Access Law have been unsuccessful.  

The letter to DOJ points to a high rate of police dog bites in Lafayette compared to other cities, as well as  a national study that shows that African Americans are disproportionately the victims of police dog bites.

The letter to DOJ was prepared by the Greater Lafayette Committee for Criminal Justice Reform  (GLCCJR) a group formed in early 2021, which advocates for “ law enforcement that respects the dignity  and civil rights of all individuals, that is not disproportionately applied to people of color and of other  minority groups, and that is carried out with maximum transparency with records open to the public.”

Alexcia Plummer, a member of the GLCCJR and a local attorney said: “I am a Black woman living in  Lafayette. If it can happen to him [Richard Bailey], it could happen to me. Our community needs to  demand oversight and transparency.” Joe Vanable, a retired university professor and another member  of the GLCCJR, linked the Bailey incident to national issues: “Although the majority of police officers are  doing their job with integrity ‘qualified immunity’ and other policies are making it difficult to deal with the  individuals who lack this integrity”. Rodney Lynch, a local pastor and president of the Pastor’s Alliance of

Lafayette said: “Police officers do not have the right to be judge and jury when someone is accused of a  crime. We need to make this community one where all bodies and lives do matter and where people are  not at risk of being abused by anyone in authority”.

The complete text of the letter to the DOJ can be found here. It is signed by Indiana State  Representative Chris Campbell (District 26), Greater Lafayette Committee for Criminal Justice Reform,  Greater Lafayette Democratic Socialists of America, Greater Lafayette Indiana Black Expo, Greater  Lafayette Indivisible, Pastor’s Alliance of Lafayette, Racial Reconciliation of Greater Lafayette, Showing  Up for Racial Justice Greater Lafayette, Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of  Tippecanoe County, Younger Women’s Task Force – Greater Lafayette Chapter.  

1001 Ferry Street Lafayette, IN 47901  



Frank Rosenthal, fsrosenthal@gmail.com (765) 463-4705

Alexcia Plummer amplummer0610@gmail.com (765) 412-8336

Meredith Richmond msmeredithrichmond@gmail.com (765) 409-7586