Businesses respond after party ends in teens fighting and damaging police cars on city’s west side

IMPD vehicles sustained damage over the weekend. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Some business owners are expressing concerns after reports of teens fighting and vandalizing police cars in their neighborhood.

It happened over the weekend at West 16th Street and Rochester Avenue.

Some business owners told 24-Hour News 8 they want to work with police and community leaders to prevent the incident from happening again.

Police received a call about dozens of kids fighting in the middle of the street. At one point, police said someone even damaged their cars by smashing a brick through the window.

IMPD provided pictures of the damaged patrol car. Police said an officer was sitting in the driver seat when someone threw a brick through the back windshield. Another car was also damaged, but no one was inside.

Jason Dempsey said he’s glad no officers were hurt.

“What if those bricks hit something else, another car, innocent person” he said. “Those bricks are heavy, not all car windows are as durable as a police window. Somebody innocent could have really been hurt by these things.”

Dempsey is the owner of a tattoo shop just blocks away from where this happened.

“Summertime’s coming, the tracks going to open up, there’s going to be a lot of big crowds and things like that, so you don’t want this as a precursor to all of that,” he said.

The problem began when police received a call for a disturbance at West 16th Street and Rochester Avenue.

Police got there and found 40 to 50 teens fighting in the middle of the street. Police said the teens had just left a party at Dee’s Venue Hall.

The owner of the venue hall declined an on camera interview, but told 24-Hour News 8 they were hosting a Sweet 16 party, some teens showed up causing problems and had to be escorted out. The owner said the party ended and they called police.

The owner also said they will no longer host events involving teens after what happened.

“And that has to be a pretty hard decision to make as a business owner honestly because you’re there to do that very thing, provide that very service but to have to sit and pick and choose. I can’t do this because of that,” he said. “You know it isn’t very fair either to the business owner.”

Dempsey said he’s hoping to see more patrols, lighting and outreach programs for the neighborhood.

He knows it’s going to take everyone in the community to work with police to see change.

“I mean we do what we can, but I think the community outreach program would probably go a really long way and letting the neighborhood know hey there is a police presence—we’re going to help keep an eye on things and keep violence and crime to a minimum as we can,” said Dempsey. “We understand there’s only so many of them and it’s a big city to cover. They can only do so much but you know we do support them with what they do we’ll try to help as much as we can.”

Police arrested a 16-year-old that night for carrying a gun without a license. Police said the teen was preliminarily charged as a minor in juvenile court.

As for the officer in the damaged patrol car, police said he had some neck pains but should be okay.

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