INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city’s Ten Point Coalition will be helping law enforcement keep the peace during Circle City Classic downtown on Saturday.
Organizers have asked for the coalition’s help in past years, but their assistance this year comes after a shooting downtown on Saturday night.
There will be dozens of Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition members in bright yellow gear starting at 8 p.m. Saturday. Some will be on North Illinois and Maryland Street outside the Steak ‘n Shake where six people were shot Saturday night.
The Rev. Charles Harrison, board president of Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, said, “The city will have their peacemakers down here, too. So, there will be a number of us down here just kind of interacting and relating to those people who come down here, you know, to have a good time at the Circle City Classic.”
The Ten Point Coalition members also will also be near the Hyatt Regency and along the canal at White River State Park. Its members include ministers, residents and ex-felons who work together to reduce youth gun violence. They serve as a buffer between police and the community.
Harrison said, “A lot of times, the young people that are down here, we tend to know them. We know them from the work that we do in neighborhoods. Some of them are members of our churches. We see them in the neighborhoods. So, we’re able to relate to the kids in a way that sometimes law enforcement is not able to relate to because of how they see law enforcement.”
Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition said violence often occurs among teens without their parents.
“It is not the responsibility of police and not the responsibility of pastors and community groups to babysit your children,” Harrison said. “Come down here with your children, have a good time and let’s have an enjoyable event.”
Some local residents expressed their approval of the coalition’s presence.
“I feel like, with them down here, it’ll make it less intimidating than having a bunch of officers walking around,” Dereka Morris said. “It’ll be nice to have people who we can relate to, people that look like us, people that understand our mindset. I feel like it’ll just make it a more comfortable vibe for people, especially young people.”
“As far as I’ve seen they relate real good with people and a lot of people listen,” Ernest Drake said. “Now whether that stops them from doing what they do, I don’t know.”