NewsPublic Affairs / June 5, 2020

Indiana Black Caucus Outlines Specific Justice Reform Steps

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Indiana Black Caucus Outlines Specific Justice Reform Steps

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus wants Governor Eric Holcomb to ban the use of chokeholds by police during arrests, one of a series of actions the caucus recommended to address justice reform.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus wants Gov. Eric Holcomb to ban the use of chokeholds by police during arrests, one of a series of actions the caucus recommended Friday to address justice reform.

The recommendations come amid protests across the state about racial justice and police brutality. And IBLC Chair Robin Shackleford says she thinks those protests are why their agenda might now get more traction.

“Everyone has been sick and tired for many years," Shackleford says. "But now, they’re really sick and tired.”

READ MORE: What’s Driving This Moment In Indiana: Protest Organizers Discuss Demands For Change

Shackleford says Holcomb hasn't contacted anyone from the caucus since the statewide protests began over the last week. Asked Monday about the black caucus, Holcomb said he had "been in touch with the leaders."

The first step the caucus wants: an executive order from the governor banning chokehold restraints by law enforcement. Failing that, Shackleford says local officials should establish such policies.

“This order must include specific repercussions officers will face by violating this ban,” Shackleford says.

The caucus wants local leaders to establish independent civilian review boards to oversee public complaints of police violence.

Another recommendation: create a Statewide Criminal Justice Commission. Shackleford says the commission should develop recommendations that can be turned into legislation for the 2021 session.

The black caucus has its own agenda for 2021, which includes:

  • Statewide use of body and dashboard cameras
  • Statewide special prosecutor for police misconduct and use of fatal excessive force
  • Public reporting of lethal force involving law enforcement
  • Statewide public database for citizens' complaints against law enforcement officers
  • Anti-racial profiling law
  • Enhanced penalties for officer-involved shootings
  • Inclusive hate crime legislation
  • Ensuring Fraternal Order of Police (police union) contracts are public record and requiring a public hearing for renewal
  • Mental health reviews for police officers
  • Confidential whistleblower complaint process for officers
  • Implicit bias, dispute resolution and de-escalation training for officers

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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