Police in Michigan City say man suffered facial injuries from fall during arrest; family thinks it doesn’t add up

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (CBS) — An arrest in Michigan City, Indiana this week ended with a man hospitalized – and his family is questioning officer’s actions.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, the family has hired an attorney – and they tell us they believe something doesn’t add up.

The Michigan City Police Department says they used a stun gun on Tahir Kelly after he ran from police and the injuries he suffered were from that fall. Kelly and his family say otherwise. 

We must warn you – the images in the video for this story are hard to look at.

“I get Tased in my back and I woke up in the hospital like this,” Kelly said from his hospital bed.

In the hospital video, Kelly talks softly. His injuries left him nearly unrecognizable to family.

“They did this to me, you guys,” Kelly says in the video.

Michigan City, Indiana police say they were called to a residential block on West 9th Street. There was a report of a suspicious car chasing two people who were walking, and one was possibly armed.

As officers arrived Kelly, allegedly matched the description of the 911 call.

“I told them that wasn’t me,” Kelly says in the video.

Police stopped to talk to Kelly, and they say Kelly wouldn’t give his real name. Police said as officers tried taking him in to custody, he ran.

A short chase ended with officers using a stun gun on Kelly.

Police said in a statement: “As a result of being Tased, the male fell to the ground and sustained injuries to his facial area.”

“If he fell – scrapes to the nose, scrapes to the head, broken nose, yeah,” said Kelly’s sister, Ebony Baylor. “But for my brother to look like this, he’s got no skin on his cheek.”

Immediate family, along with other community leaders, were allowed to watch the police body camera video of the incident. Baylor did not see the video, but described it from the perspective of Kelly’s mom.

“She said he got Tased and hit the floor, and then he started gargling on his own blood,” Baylor said.

The police chief saw the video, and based on what it shows and the facts of the case, the department said, “Chief Dion Campbell is fully supporting the actions of the officers, stating, that they acted in accordance to the law and with professionalism.”

“If I fell, what could have I possibly fallen on to have my face look like this?” Kelly said from his hospital bed.

Kelly admits he did run from police – but family says he did it because he has an outstanding warrant for a traffic offense.

He is facing a number of charges — including making a false statement, resisting police and carrying a firearm without a permit. The family plans to joins the community in a protest on Thursday afternoon.

The news release about this incident from Michigan City police is below. All boldface and italicized text appears here as it appeared in the release:

“On April 5th, 2022, the Michigan City Police Department was dispatched to the 1000 Block of West 9th Street by the LaPorte County Regional Dispatch Center for a suspicious vehicle chasing 2 males on foot. In addition, information received from the public indicated that one of the subjects possibly had a weapon.

“Officers from Uniform Patrol Shift 2 responded to the area and located a subject who matched the clothing description given by dispatch. An investigative stop was conducted on a 26-year-old male Michigan City resident. Through the course of this investigative stop, Officers were unable to confirm the identity of the 26-year-old male initially who gave varying names. As Officers attempted to place the male into custody, the male fled on foot running from police. Officers pursued the male and deployed a taser to assist in the apprehension of the male who was resisting arrest. As a result of being tased, the male fell to the ground and sustained injuries to his facial area. Officers took the male into custody and contacted LaPorte County EMS to assist with the injuries. The male was transported to Franciscan Hospital in Michigan City by LaPorte County EMS so he could receive medical treatment. Due to the injuries sustained from the fall, the male was released from police custody to receive medical care.

Due to the non-factual accounts being reported and shared on social media, Police Chief Dion Campbell initiated a meeting at the Michigan City Police department on today, April 6th, 2022. The purpose of the meeting, led by Assistant Chief Jillian Ashley, was to operate in full transparency by allowing immediate Family members, Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry, a representative of the Michigan City Common Council, the president of the Northwest Indiana Ministerial Alliance, and the LaPorte County NAACP (unavailable to attend) to review the bodycam footage of the incident that transpired on April 5th, 2022. After reviewing the incident and understanding the facts of the body camera, Chief Dion Campbell is fully supporting the actions of the officers, stating, that they acted in accordance to the law and with professionalism.

Additional information pertaining to this incident will not be released at this time in order to protect the integrity of this ongoing investigation. This case investigation has been forwarded to the LaPorte County Prosecutors Office for review and the request for a warrant. Preliminary charges against the 26-year-old male are False Identity Statement A-Misdemeanor, Resisting Law Enforcement A-Misdemeanor, and Carrying a Firearm without a Permit A-Misdemeanor.

We would also like to remind the public that you can contact us via Facebook Messenger, through our crime tip hotline number of 219-873-1488, or you can also call the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800) 78-CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon an arrest and conviction. All WeTip call information is sent directly to the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office. You can always request to remain anonymous!

Arrests and criminal charges are mere accusations. Every person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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