IU Police Chief released after failing to follow protocol

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University has released information on why former Police Chief Jill Lees was relieved of her duties.

Former Chief Jill Lees

According to IU, Chief Lees was incorrect in her assessment that two IUPD officers committed no wrongdoing during the arrest of a graduate student stemming from a parking fine in September 2022. 

In the statement, released on Wednesday, the university said the individuals from IUPD who were involved in the incident “received disciplinary action” in relation to the incident, which led to a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Indianapolis division.

A video of the incident leading to the lawsuit can be found here.

According to court documents, On September 7, 2022, Moses Baryoh Jr., an IU graduate student parked in a lot near the university’s Student Recreational Sports Center to work out then left the center and drove towards the pay booth. He only had cash to pay the $3 parking fee but the attendant would only allow card payments. The attendant said he could charge Baryoh’s bursar bill instead, with a $10 fee attached to it.

Baryoht said the attendant opened the gate so he could pull out of the way of the traffic flow. Baryoh said he assumed his bursar account would be charged and drove home. The attendant, and another university employee, called the police.

IUPD officers Austin Magness and Charlotte Watts drove to Baryoh’s home and knocked on the door. He didn’t hear officers because he was in the shower. After showering Baryoh left his home and was stopped as he exited the building.

The officers asked Baryoh for his name, as well as his birthday, to make sure they were talking to the correct student.

In the conversation, officers asked Baryoh if he knew what this was about, to which he replied that he did not. The officers then asked Baryoh to sit on the curb, but he “would continue to talk to (them) but that he did not think he needed to sit down on the curb.”

Officer Magness twisted Baryoh’s arm behind his back. According to court documents, Officer Watts along with Officer Magness then pushed Baryoh against a car and handcuffed 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.”

Baryoh was transported to jail but the charges were later dropped.

The lawsuit claimed unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, false arrest, due process violation, battery, assault, and negligence against the officers, the university, and the university’s board of regents.

According to documents filed on Sept. 5 in Indianapolis federal court, the parties in the lawsuit reached a settlement in the matter.

In the statement, IU said both officers involved were disciplined but did not give specifics.

According to the university statement, an initial and standard department review of the arrest was conducted in October 2022 by Lees. She concluded, “No wrongdoing had occurred and no subsequent action was undertaken.”

Once the university was made aware of the lawsuit, the university “conducted a thorough evaluation of all associated behaviors, processes, and procedures.” A second review of the incident determined that Lees did not follow mandatory review protocols and that police department policies were violated during the incident.

Brad Seifers is currently serving as interim division chief.