INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – In the five months since he held fellow police at bay in a Northside park, Craig Ratcliff’s life has remained in upheaval.
He’s been on paid administrative leave since Valentine’s Day, when SWAT negotiators spent four hours convincing the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department patrolman to come down from a hill in Tarkington Park without harming himself. He underwent court-ordered therapy for psychological stress, and attempted suicide, court documents say, taking an overdose of pills on March 27.
Also during the past five months, Ratcliff has continued to stalk and harass a woman who has been the object of his obsession for years, according to Marion County prosecutors who charged him Thursday. He faces three felony counts of stalking, one misdemeanor count of battery and 26 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy.
Ratcliff, 54, was held Thursday in the Marion County Jail. He has been placed on unpaid leave, said IMPD Sgt. Linda Jackson, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings and an internal investigation. Asked the amount of money Ratcliff received during his leave, Jackson said she would look into it; she had not provided a figure by late Thursday.
Investigators in February would not say what triggered the incident in Tarkington Park, but the affidavit released Thursday by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office made clear that it pertained to Ratcliff’s relationship with a woman named Miguelina Reyes.
The woman, after breaking off a relationship with the officer, had sought and received a protective order against him, the document states. Ratcliff, it alleges, repeatedly violated the order — 26 times, in fact. The document indicates Ratcliff continually called and texted the woman and repeatedly sent her flowers against her wishes.
He also occasionally followed her to her workplace in his police vehicle, the document alleges.
On one occasion in early 2011, the document states, Ratcliff threatened to kill himself after Reyes declined a marriage proposal.
Ratcliff’s alleged offenses occurred between Sept. 1, 2011 — months before the standoff — and April 30, months after the standoff, according to the affidavit.
The battery charge stems from an incident on Jan. 8, 2011, at a local club when Ratcliff, angry that Reyes would not say she was “his lady,” allegedly grabbed the woman in a choke hold, causing bruises, the document states.
“In any case involving domestic violence allegations, we take those very seriously,” said David Rimstidt, Marion County’s chief deputy prosecutor. “We have a division that is entirely dedicated to cases involving domestic violence..?.?. Protecting the victims of domestic violence is our job one.”
The most serious charge, stalking with a deadly weapon, is a B felony that carries a sentence of six to 20 years, Rimstidt noted. The charge implies that Ratcliff stalked Reyes while armed with a deadly weapon — in this case, his IMPD service revolver.
On that count alone, investigators documented 48 occasions on which Ratcliff allegedly committed that offense.
Adding in the additional prison time possible under each charge, Ratcliff could face “a lengthy exposure to criminal sentence,” Rimstidt noted, though he said the officer’s lack of any previous criminal record might make a maximum sentence less likely.
The officer was married to another woman during parts of his relationship with Reyes, the document states, and the woman first broke off the relationship in April 2009 when she learned of Ratcliff’s marriage.
This year on Feb. 14, Ratcliff went to Reyes’ home, according to the affidavit, and tried to present her gifts and a ring. He asked her again to be his lady. Reyes again declined. A short time later, Ratcliff was still toting Valentine’s Day gifts while standing on the small hill in the park in full uniform, with a gun at his side and a cell phone to his ear. Traffic in the area was tied up for hours while a police negotiator, a pastor and family members tried to persuade him to give himself up.
Ratcliff surrendered that day at 1 p.m. and was placed in an ambulance that took him to Wishard Memorial Hospital for psychological evaluation and treatment. No shots were fired, and no one was injured. Police said Ratcliff was carrying a small box of candy, a greeting card and a stuffed Minnie Mouse.
A search of his home afterward led officers to one room that was empty, according to the affidavit released Thursday — empty except for a framed photo of Reyes, propped on the floor against a lighted angel statue.
Reyes told investigators Ratcliff had told her about the photo in the room, the affidavit said, though Reyes said she had never seen it. Ratcliff told her one day he and Reyes would stay in that room when she came to live with him. Reyes repeatedly told Ratcliff that day would never come, she told detectives, according to the affidavit.
Ratcliff’s bond was set at $250,000. No initial court hearing had been scheduled as of Thursday afternoon.