UPDATE @ 07/01/2015 1:36 PM: Charles Edelen’s lawyer, Larry Wilder, has issued more statements and attempted excuses for his client’s behavior.
In an attempt to justify why his client caused a 2-month-old infant to be sprayed so badly with pepper spray that it required serious medical care from a hospital, Wilder said:
“It wasn’t his intent to hurt the child. What you;ve got to understand is this — when you use pepper spray, it fills a room, and it’s a room full of noxious fumes, and the effects are going to be felt upon by lots of people who are there.”
Wilder also confirmed that Edelen has resigned from his job as an officer with the Clarksville Police Department, and announced that Edelen is now divorcing the wife he also pepper sprayed in the face.
“[As a] matter of fact, we filed a motion for trial on the divorce this morning,” said Wilder.
UPDATE @ 06/29/2015 9:10 PM: Charles Edelen has chosen to plead not guilty to charges of aggravated battery, domestic battery, and criminal recklessness for pepper spraying his wife, Samantha Edelen, the father of one of her children, now identified as Darius Henderson, and an infant.
Edelen’s attorney, Larry Wilder, has tried to justify the officer’s choice to assault his wife and others with pepper spray because they wouldn’t do as he commanded. “Pepper spray … is the least physically and intrusive way to deal with someone who you can’t get to do something,” said Wilder. “It is preferred by police. It is preferred over guns, obviously.
The baby who was hit by Edelen’s pepper spray was rushed to Kosair Children’s Hospital with breathing problems, chemical burns to her face, and eyes that were swollen shut.
UPDATE @ 06/26/2015 4:00 PM: More details have been released about the incident.
Police responded to an emergency call from Edelen’s home Tuesday around 10:30 p.m. reporting a man was suicidal. Police arrived to find Edelen held down on the ground by several people.
According to the police report, Edelen said he and his wife reunited after a marital separation, during which she became pregnant by another man. The couple invited the child’s father to their home “to have a few drinks and discuss the issues on hand regarding the child,” but before the child’s father arrived they got into an argument about his wife wearing only a shirt and underwear. Shortly thereafter, the child’s father arrived, and the argument continued.
“Charles [Edelen] advised that is when things became very heated and this incident escalated,” the report stated. “At one point he did have a handgun held to his head and was contemplating suicide.”
The child’s father was questioned by police and told them Edelen went to his bedroom and returned to the living room with a can of pepper spray.
“[Edelen] sprayed the side of [his wife’s] face with pepper spray, causing her to run out of the residence with her 8-year-old son.”
After pepper spraying his wife, Edelen confronted the child’s father while he was holding the infant telling him to put the child down. When the man refused, Edelen sprayed it on the man and his infant daughter. The child’s father then left the home, and a neighbor was able to safely remove the child. Edelen proceeded to tackle the man’s father and hit him repeatedly in the face before others at the scene were able to restrain him until police arrived.
CLARKSVILLE, Ind. — A police officer is facing multiple charges following a domestic dispute in which he allegedly pepper sprayed an infant.
Clarksville Police Officer Charles Edelen had a domestic dispute with his wife and the father of her child on Tuesday night in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
A police report states that Edelen threatened the child’s father with a gun. Edelen also pepper sprayed the child’s father and the child. The medical condition of the father and the infant is not known at this time.
Edelen is now facing charges of aggravated battery, domestic battery, and criminal recklessness. As aggravated battery is a Class B felony under Indiana law, he could face between six and twenty years in prison if convicted.
According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, pepper spray has been known to cause immediate, life-threatening injuries when exposed to young children.
Online court records show Edelen posted bond and is now free. A judge told Edelen that he is not permitted to possess any weapons or have contact with his victims, and ordered him to seek mental health treatment.