Police Kill Evansville Resident Ricky Ard Outside the Federal Building

An Evansville police officer and a federal security officer employed by the U.S. Marshals shot and killed an Evansville man, 55-year-old Ricky Ard, outside the Winfield K. Benton Federal Building in downtown Evansville today.

Police allege that Ard smashed out the front windows of the federal building with a baseball bat and was complaining about “the government” during the confrontation. One witness, Andrew Wolfe, interviewed by the Evansville Courier and Press, said that the police tried to use a Taser on Ard, but it “didn’t work.” According to police, Ard was kicked out of the Federal Building yesterday after some sort of incident.


The ground outside the federal building lies damp after the fire department washed away Ricky Ard’s blood (Photo: Where the River Frowns)

Of course, Ard cannot tell his own side of the story, and as of yet, no information is available from his family or loved ones that could shed light on this incident.

EPD spokesperson Sgt. Jason Cullum could not confirm whether or not the officer’s body camera was on during the shooting. If it was, the video will eventually become public record but could be withheld from the public during an investigation period. Video from surveillance cameras attached to the federal building has yet to be released.

According to the project Killed by Police, which tracks police murders, Ricky Ard is the 804th person killed by police in the U.S. in 2017. According to The Counted, a project that tracked police murders last year, police killed 1,092 people in the U.S. in 2016.

According to their press release
, the Evansville Police Department claims the officers believed  “the man’s continued violent behavior posed an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death,” and that “the officers discharged their firearms to protect themselves.” They also stated, in a Tweet, that the officers had used “multiple de-escalation techniques” prior to shooting Ard. 

But some Evansville residents have taken issue with this claim, wondering why two armed and trained officers could not resolve this incident without loss of life.



An Evansville police officer and a security officer casually talk through the broken out glass of the front doors of the Winfield K. Denton Federal Building (Photo: Where the River Frowns)

As usual, the corporate media sprung into immediate action, helping the police justify the killing, parroting police talking points word-for-word, and working to vilify Ard. Article headlines on the Evansville Courier and Press website read  “Witness: Man was swinging bat before fatal shooting” and “EPD: Taser, talk failed before fatal police shooting at federal building.” And in a sentence so contrived as to be laughable were it not so common, 14 News mysteriously stated that “A man died after an officer-involved shooting.” How the officers were “involved” and how the man “died” are left to speculation.

Editors’ Note (August 30, 2017): An earlier draft of this article contained a photo, taken by the Evansville Courier and Press, of Ricky Ard’s body. This photo has been removed at the request of Ricky’s family.


    • Melissa Lewis, are you being serious? Is riddling it with bullet holes and washing the evidence down the sewer more respectful?

      This man was forced to confront his own mortality because a system that we as a society have ascribed to valued the property he was damaging above his life. The absolute least we can do is confront it along with him.

      Showing his body is not disrespectful. Showing the gruesome truth of reality is one of the few ways to respect his experience and loss.


  1. This is a really well written article; it’s a big deal to read something that isn’t trying to immediately criminalize the victim and I appreciate it acknowledging police using unnecessary lethal force against a clearly disturbed man. However, the use of the photo of the victim lying in the street after being slain only rubs salt in the wound of the man’s family, friends, and larger community. We do not to see disturbing images of the gruesome state violence that often befalls people of color and this country’s media is often guilty of making a spectacle of black bodies in the street. Images like this are triggering to those already traumatized by hearing about or witnessing constant state violence; please take this photo down.


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