LAFAYETTE – An Indiana police officer who hit a wheelchair user, toppling the man and the chair onto a street, has returned to work despite a department recommendation calling for him to be fired.
Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly announced Wednesday that his department’s entire command staff had recommended that officer Tom Davidson be terminated for last fall’s incident.
The department’s Civil Service Commission agreed that Davidson, who was a police lieutenant at the time, had engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer.
But rather than firing Davidson, it decided to issue a 30-day suspension and place him on supervisory probation for a year.
Police were summoned Oct. 1 after Nicholas Kincade, a 25-year-old who uses a motorized wheelchair, told employees from a charter school nearby that he was armed with a gun. Officers quickly determined that Kincade didn’t have a gun, but they found a pocket knife Kincade said he carried for protection.
Flannelly said Kincade had started to leave when his wheelchair collided with Davidson. The police chief said Davidson responded by using both his hands to strike Kincade in the shoulder. A video police released Wednesday that was recorded by another officer’s dashboard camera shows Kincade falling from his wheelchair as it topples. His face was scraped when he struck the pavement.
Kincade was arrested for battery against a law enforcement officer, but the charge was dismissed.