City of South Bend loses appeal to Supreme Court in Police Tapes scandal

Seal of the City of South Bend

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Supreme Court came down with an unanimous decision against the City of South Bend in the decade long police tapes scandal. The Supreme Court denied the City’s appeal to have the case heard by the Supreme Court, affirming the Court of Appeals decision. The Court of Appeals ruling was that the issue needed to be sent down to the trial court level, for a trial on the merits of the case. Millions of dollars have already been spent on the case. It’s unclear if the South Bend Common Council is willing to spend more money on a trial.

The City has been hoping to have the tapes released, so they can hear what is actually on them. The only problem is that the tapes were obtained through an illegal wiretap of officers at the South Bend Police Department.

The case started in 2011 when SBPD Communications Director Karen Depaepe said she accidentally found a recorded phone line that was not supposed to be recorded. According to testimony from a 2014 Federal Court Case, Depaepe claims she was trying to troubleshoot the recording system when she heard the voice of Captain Brian Young. She said she believed the discussion was “disturbing” and potentially “illegal.” She then gave several recordings to then Chief of Police, Darryl Boykins.

Depaepe has since had testimony that is contrary to her original claims, calling into question her honesty about what is actually on the tapes.

At the time of the discovered recordings, Depaepe’s husband (who was an officer at SBPD) was facing potential discipline by his supervisor. That supervisor was Captain Brian Young who just happened to have his line recorded. Chief Boykins was also fighting to keep his job at the time. Multiple people accused of being on the tapes were candidates for the Chief’s position.

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