LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — We are seeing for the first time the video of a Lafayette police lieutenant who pushed over a man in a motorized wheelchair when he ran over his foot.
The release comes nine months to the day of the incident involving Tom Davidson on Oct. 1, 2013.
Video and audio from an LPD dash cam shows 25-year-old Nicholas Kincade saying “Whoa, what the, the bleep?” as he is being pushed over.
Davidson replies, “You did not drive over me bleep. Now you’re going to jail. Now you’re going to jail.”
“I didn’t see you,” says Kincade.
It sounds like Davidson answers, “Oh my god, right.”
Finally Kincade responds, “Are you bleeping kidding me?”
It’s a climax to a dash cam video that begins 12 minutes earlier, around 1 p.m.
Officer Aaron Lorton is among the police who have been called to the Excel Center after Kincade told school security he has a gun in his backpack. While that’s a lie, police do find a pocketknife so police give him a trespass warning and ask him to leave.
As Kincade starts moving, that’s when Davidson is run over.
“It’s clear to us that the whole use of force in this case could have been avoided just by different positioning, by offset positioning, by moving out of the way, by not standing where he was standing,” said Police Chief Patrick Flannelly Tuesday.
There’s almost four seconds between the time Kincade’s wheelchair starts moving and when it runs over Davidson’s foot.
“Police officers cannot put themselves in a position where the subsequent need to use force is created. We can’t do that,” said Flannelly.
Lorton’s dash cam video continues. Kincade repeats that he didn’t see Davidson.
Almost four minutes later, after Kincade has been moved, Davidson goes back to talk to him.
“Nick, do you understand why I shoved you off me? Because you were driving up on my leg,” Davidson says.
Kincade responds with “I didn’t mean to.”
Flannelly said after an internal review of the incident, he and six other members of the command staff unanimously felt Davidson used both conduct unbecoming an officer and an excessive use of force and should be fired.
On appeal, the five civilians on the Civil Service Commission unanimously upheld the charge of conduct becoming an officer. But in a 3-2 vote, it ruled that Davidson had not used an excessive use of force and lessened the punishment, demoting him in rank to officer and giving him 30 days of suspension without pay.
Mayor Tony Roswarski said Tuesday while he respects their decision, he fully supports the LPD recommendation of termination.
Flannelly said an electronic malfunction delayed the review of the case by about three months, but did not affect the outcome.
Davidson is back to work after his suspension, assigned to the administrative services division.
Flannelly said he still has full confidence in Davidson’s abilities.
“He made his mistake. He’s received the punishment. We’ve spoken. The merit board has spoken. The process is done. At this point we move forward,” said Flannelly.
In part, the decision to move forward comes after the special prosecutor appointed to the case, Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer, decided not to file criminal charges Tuesday.
Davidson declined to make a comment to News 18 Tuesday, instead directing us to his attorney.
Nick Kincade told News 18 that seeing the video has made it an emotional day. He believes that Davidson should have been fired. Tuesday he agreed to be interviewed on Wednesday by News 18. However, he changed his mind Wednesday morning after speaking with his attorney.