Local News

Charges Dropped for South Whitley Teen Amid Officer Controversy

Photo courtesy of S. Whitley Marathon Gas Station Surveillance Footage

SOUTH WHITLEY, Ind. (WOWO) – In a recent turn of events, charges against 18-year-old Vivian Augustus of South Whitley have been dismissed, and her arresting officer, Brian Schimmel, is no longer employed following nationwide scrutiny over the handling of her arrest, citing safety concerns.

The incident, which occurred on January 24, 2024, at the South Whitley Marathon gas station on South State Street, gained attention after footage of the arrest circulated online, provoking calls for an investigation into Officer Schimmel’s conduct.

According to Vivian’s parents, Brent and Macy Augustus, the encounter turned violent after Schimmel pulled Vivian over for a faulty headlight and alleged speeding. Surveillance footage from the gas station and Schimmel’s dashcam captured the escalation, during which Vivian was forcibly removed from her vehicle onto the pavement. Officer Schimmel’s body camera was not activated during the encounter.

Vivian was Initially charged with refusal to identify herself during a traffic stop, resisting law enforcement, and speeding. However, the resisting law enforcement charge was dropped in January. According to our partners in news at 21 Alive, the refusal to identify and speeding charges remained until Friday when all charges against her were ultimately dropped.

The Augustus family took to social media, releasing videos of the traffic stop on Brent’s YouTube channel, in an effort to provide transparency and allow viewers to draw their own conclusions.

The Saturday after the video was filed, the South Whitley Police Department issued a statement on their Facebook page, defending the officer’s actions and emphasizing the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. However, the department later removed the post and suspended its Facebook page.

The town’s Facebook page and that of the police department were deactivated due to safety concerns following threats against local officials, including a council member who requested anonymity after receiving death threats related to the incident.

The town council of South Whitley has encouraged concerned citizens to voice their opinions at the upcoming town council meeting on Tuesday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. The Augustus family still plans to attend the council meeting to address the issue with council members.

RELATED: South Whitley Officer’s Actions “Under Review” After Video Shows Teenager Being Thrown to the Ground

 

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3 comments

Patti April 21, 2024 at 10:04 am

This could all have been adverted if she had just done what the officer asked of her in the beginning. I can’t believe the officer was fired. I think she deserved being pulled out the of car since she was being a brat!

Reply
Pat April 21, 2024 at 12:02 pm

give the cop a medal and send the parents to remedial parenting classes

Reply
Andrew Sheridan May 5, 2024 at 1:50 am

These comments are disgusting. The poor girl, first time every being pulled over, understandably scared, and the cop’s response to her nervousness, and not being fast enough for him, was to drag her out of her car and yell at her?
The guy clearly has an anger problem, should not be in a position of authority. Not to mention casually lying. Horrible human being.

Reply

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