Indiana Black Caucus pushes for more police accountability

State Rep. Carolyn Jackson, D-Hammond, speaks during an Indiana Black Legislative Caucus news conference, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, outside the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Caucus members called for state lawmakers to increase accountability and transparency for police officers as part of a wide-ranging package of criminal justice reform proposals that they plan to push during next year's legislative session. (AP Photo/Tom Davies)

By CASEY SMITH Associated Press/Report for America (08/13)

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.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribute

Posted in: Body Cameras, Civilian Complaints, Civilian Review, Defund/Dismantle Police, Internal Affairs, Investigations, Legislation, Officer Safety, Personal Profiles, Police, Police Brutality/Abuse of Authority, Policies & Practices, Protests/Civil Unrest, Public Safety, Racial Issues, School Resource Officers (SROs), School Shootings, Training/Education, Use of Deadly Force, Use of Force

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 − ten =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.