Scott Strother is facing a felony charge in Indiana after mistaking an undercover police officer for a thief. 32-year-old Strother of Indianapolis saw the stranger in the neighborhood on December 13, 2018, and thought the man may have been stealing packages from people’s porches.
Strother blocked the officer’s vehicle during a confrontation. The confusion was eventually resolved, but five days later, police filed charges against Strother. A pretrial conference was scheduled for February 7, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Police: Strother Confronted the Undercover Officer While Touching a Handgun in His Pocket
Indianapolis police said that the undercover officer was in Strother’s neighborhood that night working another case. He was searching for a homicide suspect.
Strother saw the man and thought he may have been a thief. According to the probable cause affidavit obtained by WXIN-TV in Indianapolis, Strother blocked the officer from leaving the area by moving his SUV in front of the officer’s car.
Strother then approached the officer with one hand touching a weapon in his pocket. He told police later that he “thought the officer was on his street stealing packages that had been delivered.” He thought the man was a “porch pirate.”
2. Strother’s Wife Claims the Officer Did Not Properly Identify Himself as Law Enforcement
According to the affidavit, the undercover officer turned on his vehicle’s flashing lights. He also instructed Strother to return to his SUV.
Strother’s wife, Bethany Strother, told WXIN-TV that she and her husband filed a complaint against the officer. She said he failed to communicate that he was an officer.
No arrests were made that night. Court records with the Marion County Superior Court show that the incident occurred December 13, 2018.
Charges were filed five days later. On December 18, police obtained a warrant for Strother’s arrest. Bethany Strother told WXIN-TV that she had not been aware of an arrest warrant until a TV station reporter had shown up at her door to ask about it.
3. Strother Was Charged With Criminal Confinement
Scott Strother has been charged with criminal confinement, which is a sixth-degree felony. Under Indiana law, “A person who knowingly or intentionally confines another person without the other person’s consent commits criminal confinement.”
A Level 6 felony carries a potential prison sentence of six months to 2.5 years if convicted. The maximum fine is $10,000. A judge could also issue a sentence equal to that of a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year behind bars.
Attorney Terry Raymond Curry of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the case. A pretrial conference was scheduled for February 7, 2019.
Criminal defense attorney Jack Crawford, who practices in Indianapolis but is not connected to the case, commented on it to Fox 29. He said he doesn’t believe Strother’s actions were against the law. “I don’t think he committed a crime. He was just doing what he thought was right to protect his neighborhood… It sounds to me he’s a citizen with a handgun permit with prior military training who was trying to protect his family and his neighborhood.”
4. Scott Strother is an Army Veteran, College Student & Has Been Married Since 2010
Scott Strother served in the Army, according to his Facebook page. It does not list the dates of his service.
In the summer of 2018, Strothers went back to college. He attends online classes with the Western Governors University, which is located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
He married his wife, Bethany, in 2010. They have three children, two girls and a boy.
5. Strother Shared a Video in Tribute to Fallen Police Officers to his Facebook Page
Scott Strother appears to have respect for law enforcement. In July 2018, he shared a video paying homage to fallen police officers on his Facebook page. A couple of days earlier, Strother shared another lip sync battle vide featuring police officers.
His page also indicates he holds conservative political opinions. He shared the above meme that reads, “When someone tells me they’re a liberal: I’m sorry Mr. Handicap Man, I didn’t mean to offend you.”