Father said he hopes video can lead to better de-escalation practices by police

The above screen grab is taken from a youtube video that capured a traffic pullover in South Whitley.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

SOUTH WHITLEY – Brent Augustus said he hopes a video he posted showing his daughter being quickly pulled from her car after a traffic stop will be used in the future to help police better consider de-escalation techniques.

Vivian Augustus, 18, was pulled over in January in South Whitley for a broken headline and speeding.

The youtube video, which combines security camera and police body cam footage, shows South Whitley officer Brian Schimmel grabbing her arm and yanking her from the car and then placing her on the ground face-down and putting his knee in her back while cuffing her.

The videos were acquired through a subpoena, he said.

Schimmel removed her from the car less than 90 seconds after he approached the vehicle and did so after she could not immediately provide identification and refused to get out of the car.

Brent Augustus said her daughter’s ID had been behind her school ID in a lanyard.

Bodycam video shows the ID laying on the ground after she was pulled from the car.

Her father said she was initially charged with three charges  — resisting arrest, failure to identify and speeding.

The Whitley County prosecutor’s office has since reduced the criminal case to a single charge of failure to identify, he said.

South Whitley Police issued a statement Saturday and posted it on the department’s Facebook page.

The statement reads, in part: “The reasonableness of this officer’s conduct during the arrest is being reviewed. To ensure the fairness of the process to all parties, the Town’s Attorney has advised that it is inappropriate to comment on the underlying facts of this incident while they are being reviewed.”

Brent Augustus said was outraged by the video but said he’s mostly upset with the prosecutor’s decision to move forward with a trial on the single charge and called it a waste of resources.

He said he chose to post the video after many in the community kept asking questions about the circumstances.

“We would love for this to be resolved, but there needs to be a higher standard. There needs to be more training required,” Augustus said Saturday.

“Hopefully, the video can facilitate some type of change and maybe even just the policies and procedures that our town follows,” he said. “Somebody could look at this and be like, ‘yeah we probably need a little bit more training about de-escalation.’ ”

He said he had brief conversations afterward with Schimmel and the Town Marshal, Mikel VanDevender.

“Once we were at the jail, (Schimmel) met me on the sidewalk and apologized to me and said that he’s heard my name, that this is not how he wanted to meet me and my family and that he hopes that after this that I don’t hate him,” Augustus said.

He said VanDevender told him that after viewing some of the video he thought the incident should serve as a learning moment for his daughter.

He said his daughter is a senior at Columbia City High School and is part of the Columbia City EMT training program. A day before the incident, he said, she was assisting police at a traffic accident as part of the program.

The South Whitley video is not the first that apparently captures Schimmel in a controversial scene. Last year, he was videotaped in Monrovia, in southern Indiana, in uniform and working at a race track event when he had an altercation with one of the drivers.

That happened in May of 2023. He joined the South Whitley Police department in October of 2023.