Davidson will not see charges

A Lafayette Police Officer faces a federal lawsuit after pushing a man out of his wheelchair.
A Lafayette Police Officer faces a federal lawsuit after pushing a man out of his wheelchair.

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Lafayette Police Officer Tom Davidson will not see formal charges after he was disciplined by LPD after an Oct. 1 incident. The altercation involved citizen Nicholas Kincade. Kincade will also not see charges according to Special Prosecuting Attorney Todd J. Meyer’s decision. The decision was filed Monday in Tippecanoe Circuit Court.

In the decision he said Davidson and Kincade did not act with a criminal mind during the altercation.

According to police reports obtained by News 18 in May, police were called to a charter school on North Ninth Street in Lafayette on Oct. 1 after a student told security he had a gun in his backpack. That student was identified as 25-year-old Kincade. When police arrived they asked Kincade, who uses a motorized wheelchair, if they could search his bag. He said they needed a search warrant while at the same time he was cursing at the school’s security guards.

When officers got a hold of the bag, they found a pocket knife but no gun. Since Kincade was on the sidewalk, officers decided not to arrest him for having a knife on school property. The reports said Davidson calmly asked Kincade the leave the property. That’s when Kincade drove his wheelchair over Davidson’s foot and shin.

In the report Davidson said, “The weight of the chair caused enormous pain to my foot and shin. I knew I had to get the weight off my leg to reduce the pain and any injury so I gave a two handed strike, open handed, to Kincade’s right shoulder.”

That action sent Kincade to the ground. Officers said when they tried to move Kincade’s wheelchair they couldn’t because of its weight. When asked why Kincade ran over Davidson’s foot and shin, he said he did not see the officer. Officers on the scene did not corroborate that.

After an internal investigation of the matter, the Lafayette Police Civil Service Commission found Davidson in violation of conduct unbecoming an officer. He was suspended for 30 days without pay, demoted to officer first class from lieutenant and put on probation for a year.

After that investigation, Lafayette police recommended that Davidson be fired.

“Lt. Davidson placed himself in a position that subsequently required the use of force that we think should never have occurred,” Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said. “That was why we made the decision that we made. It was a unanimous decision by the command staff.”

Through a Freedom of Information Act request News 18 asked to see the video of the Oct. 1 incident. LPD is releasing that video Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Tune into News 18 at Five and Six to get the latest on the video.

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