Mom accuses Warrick Co. Sheriff’s Deputies of punching and choking teenager

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Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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WARRICK COUNTY, Ind. (WFIE) - A Warrick County mom is asking for action after she says video shows her son’s arrest.

Officials with the Warrick County Sheriff’s Office say deputies were called Sunday to fight involving several people in Newburgh.

We received a video from a viewer, who says it’s video of the scene.

Gloria Stepro says the video shows her 14-year-old son being punched by a deputy three times, and a knee being placed on his neck.

We asked Stepro what happened leading up to the video.

“My mom was talking louder to me cause we was all watching football, so she was kind of louder when I was walking out the door, so I could hear her. I guess, I don’t know what the cops was thinking. So they rushed up and knocked on the door and was asking for my mother,” says Stepro. “They then handcuffed her and said, they didn’t say anything, but I was told afterwards. Now I’m finding out, it’s for a disorderly.”

Stepro says her son went to ask police why his grandmother was being detained. That’s when she said this happened.

“My son at that time was asking, ‘why are you handcuffing my Nana?’ He tried to walk up on the porch. They grabbed him and slammed him to the ground,” says Stepro, “All the officers was tussling with him to the ground. Then in the process of it, as everybody’s going to see in the video, the officer, Rohl, proceeded, and did, punch my son in his body areas.”

Sheriff Michael Wilder says he’s been reviewing the body camera footage, and the video we received doesn’t tell the whole story. He released a statement to us:

“The Warrick County Sheriff’s Office is reviewing multiple incidents that occurred near Pecan Lane in Newburgh on October 1 and October 2.

On October 2, deputies responded to a report of a domestic disturbance and fight involving multiple parties and family members. The Office is aware that a brief video (approximately 10 seconds) has been published depicting Warrick County Sheriff’s deputies attempting to control and arrest a 14-year-old juvenile male during that incident. The Sheriff’s Office is interviewing deputies, reviewing written reports of the incident, and reviewing body camera video. Preliminary inquiries do not reveal any serious injury to anyone involved in the incident, including the juvenile male and the officers involved in his arrest.

From this preliminary review—and an internal investigation that is as yet incomplete—it is clear that the brief 10-second excerpt published online does not provide a full account of the incident. Such selective publication of a brief excerpt of such an incident without either video of events leading to the arrest or depicting its aftermath often result in misleading the viewer. It is important to have a full picture of what happened from multiple sources. The review to date reveals that the juvenile engaged in aggressive conduct, ignored multiple police demands to leave the area, and made physical contact with multiple officers at the scene. Restraining the juvenile required the efforts of multiple officers over a period of approximately two minutes. The juvenile was detained and removed from the incident in officer custody.

The investigation is ongoing. Deputies arrested one adult for disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and resisting law enforcement. Two juveniles were arrested on multiple charges stemming from the incident, including resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, among other charges.”

For Stepro, she hopes the video can be evidence that will support her legal action against the department. She says she just wants justice for her son.

“They both need to have consequences to their actions, just the same as anybody else that gets locked up,” says Stepro. “There’s consequences to your actions. I’m not saying my son is innocent in all of the whole situation. He was an over-protective grandchild that was asking questions. They went to the extreme with how they handled the situation.”

During the video, you can also see Stepro’s 12-year-old daughter kick one of the officers.

Stepro says she was trying to defend her brother as he was punched.

We’ve requested the bodycam footage from the scene to pair alongside the video we received from Stepro to hopefully get a clearer picture of the incident.

The two juveniles were arrested on multiple charges, including resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.