|Agency||Indianapolis Indiana Metropolitan Police Department|
|Last Known Status||Suspended|
2016 Public Safety Service Commendation
Lawson received a Public Safety Service Commendation from the Indianapolis Fire Department.
2019 Assault of "A.W."
On August 29, 2019, Indianapolis Indiana Public Schools Police Department and Indianapolis Indiana Metropolitan Police Department officers attempted to break up a fight between students. Lawson was escorting 17-year-old participant "A.W." from the school when an altercation occurred between the teenager, his aunt, and Lawson. The aunt "cursed and screamed" at Lawson, who threatened to arrest her and tried to grab her arm. The teenager stepped between them, and Lawson reported that the student balled up his fists in preparation for a fight. Lawson swung at the teenager, hitting his neck and jaw area. Lawson kneed the teenager in the chest.
In his report, Lawson stated that he feared the teenager was going to strike him first, that he used an "open hand palm strike", and that a Sergeant later told Lawson that they had seen the teenager swing first.
The teenager was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The teenager claimed that he was not arrested but was released after the incident.
Video of the incident was captured by a witness.
The police chief reviewed the video and noted that Lawson used a closed fist, which he said was "not taught or reasonable".
The sergeant later denied telling Lawson that the teenager had swung first, and stated that she had been working in a different location of the campus than Lawson.
Lawson was suspended without pay.
On September 9, 2019, the teenager filed a lawsuit against Lawson for falsifying a police report and the use of excessive force.
On September 16, 2019, the County Prosecutor charged Lawson with felony counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct, and misdemeanor charges of battery and false informing.
In November 2020, the teenager sued the city, the school district, and Lawson
In November 2021, a jury found Lawson guilty of felony perjury and official misconduct, and misdemeanor false informing. Lawson was acquitted on the battery charge and the jury did not reach a decision on the obstruction of justice charge.
In January 2022, a judge dismissed the obstruction of justice charge as the jury did not reach a decision on that charge. The judge vacated the convictions on perjury and false informing after hearing arguments that they were punishments for the same crime. Lawson was sentenced to 363 days of probation.
In 2022, Lawson appealed his conviction to the Indiana Court of Appeals, asking them to review the jury instructions in his case and that the Sergeant's recanting of their original statements had set Lawson up for the perjury charge.
The Court of Appeals affirmed Lawson's conviction.
On February 8, 2023, a judge removed Lawson as a defendant in the teenager's lawsuit, ruling that Lawson had "acted in the course and scope of his employment". Indiana law prevents the suing of government employees under such circumstances. The lawsuit will continue against the city and the school district.
In January 2023, Lawson appealed his conviction to the Indiana Supreme Court, asking them to review the jury instructions in his case and that the Sergeant's recanting of their original statements had set Lawson up for the perjury charge.
On March 2, 2023, the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously declined to hear Lawson's appeal.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Johnny Magdaleno, Indiana Supreme Court declines to hear case of IMPD officer who punched student, IndyStar, 2023-02-24
- ↑ Congratulations, IMPD News, 2016-01-29
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Holly Hays, Family files lawsuit against IMPD officer shown striking Shortridge High School student, IndyStar, 2019-09-05
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Johnny Magdaleno, IMPD officer who punched high school student receives probation for official misconduct, IndyStar, 2022-01-31
- ↑ Justin Mack, IMPD officer caught on video striking Shortridge student charged with battery, perjury, IndyStar, 2019-09-16
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