Federal authorities had been investigating allegations of excessive use of force by two Muncie (Indiana) police officers and the falsification of records by a third officer. On Friday the three officers turned themselves in to federal authorities. Muncie, Indiana is a small town of less than 100,000 people. Even though it is approaching the medium town size it’s definitely got small town problems. The arrest of these three officers is a perfect example.
The officer who appears to be the ring leader is the son of ex-Police Chief Joe Winkle. Chief Joe Winkle was in a strange position (at least it’s strange to me) of being retired from the department but working as the chief in a contract capacity. He decided to terminate his employment with the department saying his last day would be December 30, 2019. Chief Winkle was well-aware that his son, Chase Winkle, was being investigated and had placed him on administrative leave. According to the RTV6 article Chief Winkle said, “I thought it was best for them to not be out on the road. I was not comfortable with them working the road while they are targets of this investigation.”
When Daddy’s the Boss
It’s hard to imagine that Chief Winkle could be totally unaware of the police brutality being inflicted on arrested individuals by his son, Chase Winkle, along with Officer Jeremy Gibson. Or that he didn’t suspect the police misconduct by Sgt. Joe Krejsa who falsified reports in an attempt to help cover up what had been done. According to TheStarPress.com article,
(Chase) “Winkle faces three other counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to the court documents, “without legal justification” kicking and striking an arrestee in the head in June 2018, kicking a detainee in the head until he was unconscious in March 2018, and punching a suspect in the face in February 2019.
Winkle faces four more counts of making false police reports, while Kresja faces a second count of false reporting.”
Chief Winkle appears to have ignored the mounting evidence of abuse of power by police, since one of the officers involved was his son. Even his comment lets you know what he thinks about the investigation. Notice that he refers to his son and Gibson as targets of the investigation rather than subjects of it. Phrasing it that way gives the impression that he feels they are being persecuted. Then again, maybe it’s because he feels he is being persecuted too. So many people feel persecuted when they are finally forced to accept the consequences of their actions or lack of action. Chief Joe Winkle, his son Officer Chase Winkle and another police officer, Chase Hunter, have been named in a federal lawsuit for violating the civil rights of Jesse Vernon, one of the victims who was repeatedly beaten and tased.
Gibson and Krejsa
Officer Gibson joined Winkle in assaulting prisoners and Sgt. Krejsa wrote false reports to cover for the abuse. The official charge for the abuse that both Winkle and Gibson are facing is Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.