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Indianapolis Police Officer Could Face Jail Time for Choking 11 Year Old Daughter

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From The Indianapolis Star:

Andrew Dodds’ arrest this week after accusations that he dragged his 11-year-old daughter down a hallway and choked her may result in jail time for the patrolman and cost him his job.

Andrew Dodds

Andrew Dodds

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has suspended Dodds, 35, without pay, and Chief Michael Spears has recommended he be terminated from the department.

The incident has shocked his family members, who say they know him as a devoted officer with a clean disciplinary record and a penchant for hard work.

“I have a hard time believing it ever happened (because of) the type of person he is and has been in the past,” said Ron Stoner, Dodds’ stepfather, who raised him since he was a child.

Dodds was being held Friday at the Marion County Jail on $100,000 bond. He faces preliminary charges of battery on a minor, battery on a minor with family member under age 16 present, and strangulation, all D felonies, said Lt. Jeff Duhamell, an IMPD spokesman.

Each count could result in six months to three years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Dodds, who grew up in Greenfield, was sworn in to the IMPD in July 2004 and worked in the Northwest District. Stoner said Dodds was dedicated to his job and aspired to work for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Duhamell said Dodds had no disciplinary record and had received commendation letters for his work from an agent with the U.S. Postal Service in February 2007 and from an IMPD detective in January 2008.

He was nominated for the Northwest District’s officer of the month in August.

“This is a family incident not involving anything to do with his police work on the street,” Duhamell said. “He’s a stellar performer out there. Unfortunately, he stepped over the line.”

According to a probable cause affidavit, Dodds’ daughter told an interviewer at the Child Advocacy Center that she was visiting her father’s Northeastside home Tuesday when she spilled milk on the couch. Dodds told her to go to her room, but she refused, she said, because Dodds was saying negative things about her mother.

Dodds then grabbed her legs, twisted them and pulled her off the couch, dragging her down the hallway to her bedroom, according to the affidavit.

The girl’s 8-year-old sister, who witnessed the incident, told interviewers her father and sister were yelling at each other in the bedroom and the girl was trying to hit and kick Dodds. She said her sister shut her bedroom door and then came back out, grabbing Dodds by his neck.

Dodds then shoved the 11-year-old against the wall, the 8-year-old said, and the girl was breathing fast and trying to get his hands off her, according to the affidavit.

The 11-year-old told investigators she thought she was going to die. When Dodds released her, she went back into the bedroom, climbed out the window and went to a neighbor’s house.

When investigators asked Dodds if his behavior was appropriate, he said he should not have gotten angry at his daughter and knew it was wrong to put his hands on her, according to the affidavit.

Dodds and his wife, Heather, filed for divorce Dec. 17. Stoner said the couple had been living separately in recent weeks. There had been at least one other disturbance call involving the family.

Heather Dodds did not respond to phone messages requesting comment.

The Marion County prosecutor’s office could file formal charges next week.

• Call Star reporter Francesca Jarosz at (317) 444-6310.

Please see the following post “Double Standards in Domestic Violence Reporting“…I had to post after reading this article.

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Written by mothersoflostchildren

February 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

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