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student life crime & courts

Lawsuit over IU student arrest settled shortly after IUPD chief departure

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IU settled a lawsuit in September involving the arrest of an IU graduate student after he did not pay a $3 parking fee. In a statement Wednesday, IU said IUPD policies were violated during the incident and former Chief Jill Lees did not follow mandatory review protocols following the arrest.

Lees left the department for unknown reasons prior to the September settlement.

The lawsuit was filed against IU and the IU Board of Trustees in addition to the two IUPD officers involved. The plaintiff alleged IU was “deliberately indifferent” in their failure to properly train and supervise the officers. On Sept. 5, IU filed a motion to settle, and counsel informed the court a settlement had been reached two days later.

On Sept. 7, 2022, Moses Baryoh Jr., an IU graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in public health in administration and behavior, parked at the Student Recreational Sports Center to work out. As he was leaving the parking lot, he attempted to pay the $3 parking fee with a five-dollar bill at the pay booth, but the attendant said he could not pay in cash. According to the court documents, Baryoh said he did not have a card on him to pay, so the attendant gave him the option to have his bursar account changed; however, this raised the fee from $3 to $13.50.

[Related: Former Police Chief Jill Lees departs from IUPD Bloomington division]

According to court documents, Baryoh did not want to pay the higher fee, so the parking attendant opened the gate to allow him to pull through so other cars could leave. The attendant also told him he could wait for someone to bring him a card if he wanted. In the court documents, Baryoh said he assumed his bursar account would be charged according to court documents, so he drove home.

IUPD body cam footage shows Baryoh saying he drove away because his friend in the passenger seat became angry at the parking attendant, and Baryoh wanted to deescalate the situation.

The parking attendant and another IU employee then called the police.

IUPD officers Austin Magness and Charlotte Watts drove to Baryoh’s home, where they found him outside. According to court documents, Baryoh did not know why they were there and IUPD officers would not tell him, instead asking him to sit on the curb and tell them his birth date to confirm his identity.

After Baryoh refused to sit on the ground, Magness twisted his arm behind his back. According to court documents, Watts joined Magness in throwing Baryoh against a car and handcuffing him.

“Can I please know why?” body cam footage shows Baryoh repeatedly asking police with no answer. “Can you please tell me why sir? Please? That’s the only question I’ve asked you sir.”

[Related: IU addressing unlocked doors, Crimson Card issues following new security measures]

Body cam footage shows officers sitting Baryoh in the back of a police car while he apologized repeatedly for not immediately listening to police. Magness called someone to ask if he should charge Baryoh for resisting arrest, acknowledging that Baryoh was currently cooperating.

“Dude, that did not have to go that way,” body camera footage captures Magness telling Watts about the incident.

Watts drove Baryoh to jail, and he was charged criminally, though unrelated to the parking fee. The charges were later dismissed, according to court documents.

On June 15, IU learned of the incident following Baryoh’s lawsuit, according to the statement.

IU conducted a secondary review in the summer that found IUPD policy had been violated, contradicting Lees’ initial assessment last October. They also found Lees failed to follow mandatory review protocols in her assessment.

The reason for Lees recent departure from the department had previously been unknown, with IUPD and IU both refusing to comment despite requests from multiple media organizations.

In the statement, IU said all responsible parties in IUPD had been disciplined but did not give specifics.

[Related: Three separate incidents bring police to Franklin Hall in 1 week]

The university has also hired an external consultant to conduct a review of all IU police departments and said they are working on enhanced training programs and operational changes, particularly involving parking enforcement.

“IU pledges to maintain an open dialogue with the community and will inform stakeholders of any additional steps taken to ensure that IUPD operates in alignment with IU’s core values and the highest ethical standards,” the statement read.

According to Indiana Public Media, the IU Board of Trustees voted to indemnify the officers at their Aug. 25 meeting, which involves paying for reasonable costs and expenses of the officers’ defense during the lawsuit.

IU released nearly 10 hours of body camera footage from the incident.

The attorney for Baryoh said they did not have any comment at this time.

When the IDS contacted IUPD for comment, they sent IU’s press release and declined to say anything else. The IU Board of Trustees was not immediately available for comment.

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