Indiana Black Caucus pushes for more police accountability

Police Lights

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus called Thursday for state lawmakers to increase accountability and transparency for the state’s police officers.

Posted: Aug 14, 2020 9:37 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus called Thursday for state lawmakers to increase accountability and transparency for the state’s police officers.

Caucus members released a wide-ranging package of criminal justice reform proposals that they plan to push for during next year’s legislative session. Key to their policy agenda is establishing more frequent audits on public safety funds, funding body and dash cameras, reducing law enforcement in schools, automatic external investigations for officer-involved shootings, and requiring all law enforcement agencies to obtain independent liability insurance.

Marijuana decriminalization, enhanced protester protections and studying racism as a public health crisis are among the more than three dozen other points outlined by the caucus.

“We’re trying to keep the movement going,” Rep. Robin Shackleford said at a news conference Thursday. “We want to galvanize the voices of the streets into legislation.”

The reform agenda follows protests across the state about racial justice and police brutality, spurred by the police killing of George Floyd.

In June, the caucus called on Gov. Eric Holcomb to address justice reform in Indiana with a list of “immediate action items” that includes putting bans on chokeholds, racial profiling and no-knock warrants.

Shackleford said the governor has been “polite” and that caucus members have spoken with him several times, but added that she would like to “see more action from Gov. Holcomb, and immediate action.”

Rep. Earl Harris said the caucus has been working with various groups throughout the state – including the Indiana Sheriff's Association, the Indiana State Police superintendent and victims of police-action shootings – to advocate for changes in police culture that can lead to racial profiling and police brutality.

Those changes include creating a whistleblower complaint process to make it easier for officers to come forward with complaints against other officers, as well as creating a statewide tracking system of officers who have complaints or prior disciplinary action.

“The last thing different agencies want is for one of their officers that has been a problem to then be able to go to another agency, or for them to take in someone, that they don't know has a history of problems,” Harris said.

The caucus also wants to pave the way for local leaders to establish independent civilian review boards to oversee public complaints of police violence, Harris said.

But while Shackleford said the caucus believes in “re-imagining and restructuring the police,” they don't support completely defending or eliminating the police. Funding is needed to change how police officers are trained and to ensure that all are equipped with cameras — which Shackleford emphasized requires legislative oversight — but said there is still "the need for law enforcement in our communities.”

Lawmakers are required to have legislation proposals together by December. Shackleford said caucus members anticipate proposing several new bills to be addressed during the 2021 legislative session, but because Democrats are the super-minority in the state's General Assembly, they anticipate they'll spend more time drafting amendments to current laws.

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

West Lafayette
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: °
Kokomo
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Rensselaer
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Fowler
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 39°
Williamsport
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 41°
Crawfordsville
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 38°
Frankfort
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: °
Delphi
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Monticello
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Logansport
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Remaining Dry and Trending Warmer for the Upcoming Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events