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Lawsuit at the center of former IUPD chief’s resignation



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (IUSTV News) – A lawsuit filed in federal court against two IUPD officers in June is at the center of controversy surrounding former IUPD Chief Jill Lees’ resignation.  

The lawsuit lists then-graduate student Moses Baryoh Jr. as the plaintiff. It says two IUPD officers, Officer Austin Magness and Officer Charlotte Watts, reportedly violated his Fourth Amendment rights, unlawfully arrested him and used unnecessary force among other claims when confronting Baryoh Jr. about a parking payment dispute in September of 2022.

It lists the officers, as well as Indiana University and its Board of Trustees, as defendants.  

In her initial review, former IUPD Chief Jill Lees said she found no wrongdoing on the officers’ part. However IU came to a different conclusion.

The university released a statement on Wednesday saying they were made aware of the lawsuit when it was filed on June 15, 2023. After a secondary review, IU determined that the former IU Police Chief “did not follow mandatory review protocols during the initial 2022 review.” 

The statement said all parties in IUPD that were involved received disciplinary action. The statement also said an external consultant is being brought in to evaluate IUPD and they’re starting “enhanced training on fair and impartial policing” as well as compliance and field operations.  

However, the two officers from the lawsuit are still listed with the department.

What happened on September 7, 2022?

According to legal documents, Baryoh Jr. attempted to pay for parking in a lot near the Student Recreational Sports Center after a workout at the gym.

He was informed he could only pay the $3 charge by card, but he did not have one with him. The only other choice was to be charged to his bursar account, but that would add $10.50 on top of the original $3 charge.  

Not wanting to pay an added $10, Baryoh Jr. attempted to pay in cash with a $5 bill.

Court documents show the attendant told Baryoh Jr. he could have someone bring him a card to pay with or the amount could be charged to his bursar. The attendant then raised the gate to allow him to pull to the side to wait for someone to bring him a card and keep the flow of traffic moving.  

However, according to those documents, Baryoh Jr. claimed he thought this meant the amount was being charged to his bursar, and continued driving. The attendant then called the police. 

Later that night, Officers Magness and Watts went to Baryoh Jr.’s residence, knocking at the door. Baryoh Jr. initially did not answer the officer’s knocking as he was in the shower, and just as the officers were about to leave, he stepped outside.

Officers Magness and Watts then approached him and asked if he knew what they were there about, which Baryoh Jr. said he did not. Officer Magness asked Baryoh Jr. to sit on the curb, to which Baryoh Jr. said he would talk to the officers but declined to sit on the curb. 

According to the lawsuit and body cam footage released by IU, Officer Magness then asked him to come over to where he was, which Baryoh said he wanted to stay where he was. In body cam footage, he can be seen standing opposite Officer Magness across the hood of a car. 

In the lawsuit, Baryoh Jr. states he perceived that “[Officer] Magness was becoming more and more angry, so Plaintiff asked, ‘You good?’” 

Officer Magness said they needed to talk to him, and Officer Watts said they needed to confirm he was the right person. Baryoh Jr. asked if he needed his identification, which the officers said was not necessary, and instead asked for his birthday.

Baryoh Jr. asked if they could tell him what this was about. Officer Magness answered by saying, “Do you want to work with us first?” Baryoh Jr. replied, “I’m trying.” 

Officer Magness then walked over and told Baryoh Jr. to put his hands behind his back, handcuffing him and pushing him onto the hood of the car.

Baryoh Jr. repeatedly asked why he was being detained, while the officers told him he would go to jail if he resisted. The lawsuit states Officer Magness twisted Baryoh Jr.’s arm, knocked him off balance, and then put him in their patrol car. 

Baryoh Jr. was booked into jail and charged criminally, but with nothing relating to the SRSC parking lot incident. IU says those charges were later dropped.

The lawsuit claims Baryoh Jr. “experienced harm, including, but not limited to, pain, suffering, mental and emotional distress, and reputational damage as a result of Defendants’ unlawful actions.”  

Recently, documents showed that parties have agreed to reach a settlement by Oct. 5, and that the case was dismissed on Sept. 5.  

At the time of the incident, Baryoh Jr. studied Public Health in Administration and Behavior and worked as a graduate assistant for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy at Defendant IU’s Health Center. 

The two officers are still listed as employed in the IU staff directory. In addition to the steps taken with IUPD, the statement IU released said changes will be made to parking enforcement “to ensure reasonable responses in the future.” 

IUSTV News has filed record requests to the university on this situation, including documents related to former-chief Lees’ and the two officers disciplinary records. However, no documents or official denial have been sent by the university yet.  

Read the lawsuit and other documents:

Original Lawsuit Document
Notice of Settlement Document
Dismissal Document