A white Indiana police officer has been charged with battery, false informing and perjury after attacking a Black high school student and lying about it.
Robert Lawson, 43, was caught on video punching a 17-year-old teen to the ground at Shortridge Highschool, screaming, “You want to go to jail? You want to go to jail? Let's go!"
The 11-year police veteran was reportedly dishonest about the August 29 incident in official sworn statements. Lawson initially claimed he hit the student with an open fist because he thought the teen was going to hit him. He alleged officers on the scene handcuffed the teen without further force after the smack.
According to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, Lawson’s claims were believed to be "false and contrary” when compared to video of the incident. The video shows Lawson punching the teen with a closed fist and kicking him with his knee.
Lawson, who has been suspended without pay, also claimed another cop witnessed the teenager swing first, but that officer denied the claim.
His lies continued when he claimed the teenager’s face was “clenched in anger” as he balled his hands into fists. The video reveals the student’s hands were not balled up right before the attack occurred.
ABC reports Lawson turned himself in to authorities on Monday.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan officer was also charged with obstruction of justice and official misconduct, both felony crimes. The charges were enforced after a two-week investigation that found the officer had no “legitimate concern for self-defense.”
IMPD Chief Bryan Roach has recommended the firing of Lawson following the charges.
The family of the victim has filed a federal lawsuit in the case.