May 31, 2020

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett Issues County-Wide Curfew To Start Sunday Night

Mounted police gather a block away from the initial clash with protesters. The crowd gathered at Delaware and Market streets on Saturday, May 30. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Mounted police gather a block away from the initial clash with protesters. The crowd gathered at Delaware and Market streets on Saturday, May 30.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has instituted a county-wide curfew to start Sunday at 8 p.m. and end Monday at 6 a.m.  More people are expected to protest downtown for a third day.

"These actions are necessary but they break my heart," says Hogsett. 

City officials say during the curfew,traveling public streets or being in public places will be prohibited throughout Marion County. Exceptions to the order include individuals traveling directly to or from work, seeking medical care, or fleeing from dangerous circumstances. Law enforcement; members of the news media; federal, state, or local public officials conducting necessary work; and individuals experiencing homelessness are also exempt.

Violation of the curfew order is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines worth up to $10,000.

The executive order follows a second night of violence in the streets of downtown Indianapolis during which two people were killed. Shootings, looting, fires and vandalism swept the streets after what was started as a peaceful event. 

Hogsett says he knows that systematic change is needed and respects effects of the majority to protest peacefully.  

"The violent behavior of a selfish few last night was not designed to move our nation to greater equality," Hogsett says.

The mayor praised event organizers who helped facilitate the ealier peaceful protest at Monument Circle and the Indiana War Memorial, and those who tried to calm the crowd later.

IMPD Provides Timeline Of Events

Police say tensions began to rise, following several hours of peaceful protets, when a group of about 200 people split from larger gathering and congregted on Market Street between the City Market and the City-County Building.

"It was at this point that we noticed a turn from a protestor crowd to a gathering of individuals who were making overt actions to ramp up their efforts to disturb the protest," IMPD Deputy Chief Josh Barker says.

He says officers noticed some in the group put on eye and face protection, and the tension continued to build as a group moved on the entrance of the City-County Building, throwing rocks and kicking windows. 

"At this point I think it's important to understand that IMPD had not advanced onto that group," Barker says. "We were still a block, block and a half, away. Still observing."

He says, at the time, a large part of the group on Market Street was still peacefully protesting.

When windows were broken at the at the City-County Building, Marion County Sheriff deputies stationed inside requested assistance and IMPD officers moved in to get people away from the building. 

Barker says it was at this point in the evening that the "peaceful protest turned to a riot, based on the activities of a violent and aggressive few who splintered off of that peaceful group."

He says objects were thrown in their direction of officers as they entered the, including rocks and firecrackers. When some in the crowd began to damage police vehicles, Barker says, IMPD deployed tear gas and pepper balls to clear the area. 

Barker says police used more tear gas when some in the crowd began to encircle officers as they made a handfull of arrests.

"It was at that point in the evening that the violent, riotuous activity began and carried on into the early morning hours," Barker says. 

He says amid the violence Saturday night there were two homicides and "several" non-fatal shootings. 

Around 2 a.m., IMPD shifted traffic patterns in the Mile Square area of downtown  to clear vehicles and people out of downtown. Barker says order was restored around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Police say 29 people were arrested Saturday and an unknown number of businesses and city buildings were damaged. 

Support independent journalism today. You rely on WFYI to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Donate to power our nonprofit reporting today. Give now.


Related News

New documentary from Indianapolis filmmaker explores solutions to homelessness
Indiana Civics Summit focuses on youth involvement in local politics, elections
"Not much was working right." Federal and local takeover of Indianapolis Housing Agency announced