June 5, 2020

Indy Mayor, Police Chief Respond To Some Protesters' Demands

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett speaks during a press conference announcing a new use of force policy and a more progressive disciplinary process for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. - Screen shot of livestream via Channel 16.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett speaks during a press conference announcing a new use of force policy and a more progressive disciplinary process for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Screen shot of livestream via Channel 16.
Jill Sheridan & ERIC WEDDLE
The Indianapolis Mayor and police chief said Friday they agreed to some protesters’ demands for police reform and accountability after seven days of street demonstrations. 

Mayor Joe Hogsett says the city will begin to use a new use of force policy and a more progressive disciplinary process.  Hogsett announced the changes in a press conference.

He says they include changes policy for use of deadly force, a requirement for identification and warning before use of force.  A commitment to not use chokeholds and prohibit shooting into moving vehicles and from vehicles. 

The changes also include rules for police to use less force. 

"This is a beginning, not the end," says Hogsett. "We can not dismantle institutional racism with bureacracy alone."  

Hogsett says the city will also submit additional funding for the expansion of violence intervention strategies that was first proposed by the group Faith in Indiana. 

The response falls short of what some protest organizers are calling for in wake of the fatal police shooting of a black man last month.

Indy10 Black Lives Matter and Faith In Indiana demanded city leaders overhaul how police officers investigated and increase transparency on the rules officers are to follow. Indianapolis protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd who was killed by a white Minneapolis officer on May 25.

“I'm grateful to hear that we will be able to hold our public servants accountable,” says Pastor Darian Bouie Progressive Baptist Church.

Bouie and other religious leaders with Faith In Indiana began to announce the mayor’s acceptance of the demands Thursday.

“So the use of force policy will allow for us to understand what is and what is not within the context of a police officer's assignment,” Bouie said. “And it's not just for the police to be informed about but it's also for the citizens because we believe it would be irresponsible for us to equip the officers with intelligence and then for us as citizens to be effective.”

Faith In Indiana says they will work “alongside taylor” to ensure the progressive disciplinary process is “something that we could all be proud of.”

“The only way we can hold them accountable is if we know what's going on,” Bouie said

But not all protesters' demands are being met. Demands of Indy10 Black Lives Matter center around the May 6 fatal police shooting of 21-year-old Dreasjon “Sean” Reed. Naming the officer who shot and killed Reed is one of their five points.

Reed was shot to death while running from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department  officers following a car chase. IMPD officials say officers fired a taser at Reed that appeared to be ineffective, then gunshots were exchanged. Reed was live streaming on Facebook during this but his death appears to not be visually captured in the video.

Attorneys for Reed’s family dispute IMPD, and say they have evidence Reed did not brandish or fire a gun at police. A special prosecutor was appointed Thursday to investigate the fatal shooting.

City and police officials have maintained no information about the case can be released until a special prosecutor is appointed. Mayor Joe Hogsett and IMPD Chief Randal Taylor both called for the Marion County Superior Court to immediately name a prosecutor a day before Rosemary Khoury of Madison County was appointed.

Indy10 Black Lives Matter want IMPD leaders to:

  • Name the officer who fatally shot Reed.
  • Fire that officer from the department. 
  • Charge the officer with a crime for Reed’s death.
  • Rewrite and review IMPD’s use of force policy.
  • Tell the truth about what happened to Reed.

These are Faith In Indiana’s Demands that are being addressed by the city:

  • Enacting an updated police use of force policy.
  • Implementing progressive discipline policy.
  • Ongoing de-escalation and procedural justice training.
  • Implementing group violence intervention recommendations immediately.

The demands that were not immediately addressed include:

  • Responding to mental health crisis with treatment not incarceration
  • Removing unfair protections for officers in law enforcement contracts
  • Requiring independent investigations of police violence.

They've also agreed to make sure that body cameras will be made accessible to officers and they have a rollout for summer and it will go through the fall.

WFYI reporter Eric Weddle contributed to this report.

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