Mayor Hogsett announces systemic police reforms

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett plans to review and revamp the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s training and use of force practices in the wake of the Aaron Bailey shooting. He announced a series of changes at a Friday morning news conference.

The FBI and IMPD are still investigating whether police broke the law when they shot and killed Bailey in late June. Hogsett, however, said it’s not too soon to make policy changes.

The mayor plans to bring in nationally recognized experts to “train the trainers” within IMPD on how to avoid racial bias.

He’ll also create a Use of Force Review Board to review any incident where an officer uses force.

Hogsett plans to open an IMPD Office of Diversity to track local trends and adjust accordingly. He said he will bring in legal experts to help revamp IMPD training.

The mayor also plans on inviting community and faith leaders to review the Citizens Police Complaint Board and make sure it’s fair.

He announced the changes side-by-side with IMPD chief Bryan Roach and deputy mayor David Hampton.

“This effort will be the first of its kind in the entire country,” Hogsett said.

The changes were announced after two weeks of pushback in the wake of the Aaron Bailey shooting. Police said Bailey, a black man who was unarmed, drove away from IMPD in the middle of a traffic stop and eventually crashed after a short chase.

Officers said they saw Bailey reach for his center console as they approached his car. Two officers—one white and one biracial—fired at Bailey and it’s not clear which shot killed him. A woman who was in the car with Bailey was preliminary charged with possession of paraphernalia.

The Indianapolis Congregation Network, or IndyCAN, organized a “Justice for Aaron Bailey” rally the day after the shooting.

Rev. Juard Barnes of IndyCAN said he’s “excited and hopeful” after the mayor’s Friday morning announcement.

“I think it will help dramatically,” Barnes said. “I think it’s a great start and I think we’re going to keep fighting for all the things it will take to get it done.”

Barnes said he doesn’t know whether police showed racial bias when they shot Bailey, but he’s praising Roach and Hogsett for getting the FBI involved.

“I heard a lot of anger over the last couple of weeks,” Roach said. “I heard a lot of fear. It’s our responsibility to try and diminish both the anger and the fear.”

IMPD does not use body cameras and police said there is no video of the Bailey shooting. Hogsett said he’s still reviewing his 2018 budget and he would not say Friday whether it will include money for body cameras.

“Body cams, dash cams, all of that would be great. But at what cost?” Hogsett said. “It’s difficult to provide everyone with body cams.”

City leaders said the changes are in the planning stages. They did not provide a date on when the changes will go into effect.

Watch the entire press conference here:

The Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement after hearing the Hogsett’s proposals:

“We look forward to learning additional details of the concepts outlined by the Mayor today.

Issues of mutual trust and respect between officers and the public are paramount to our collective membership. That is why we have proactively advocated for and participated in efforts that address the opportunities for enhancement of that relationship throughout our Indianapolis community.

The FOP in collaboration with our Chief of Police and members of our community has been working on many of these topics for quite some time.

We look forward to continued dialogue and productive engagement by everyone involved.

As we continue our progress, we appreciate the ongoing support of our residents and visitors for our police department which is made up of women and men who never waver in their commitment to protect our neighborhoods and the multiple events hosted within our City.

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