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Indianapolis FOP recalls 2020 May riots, demands release of 911 calls

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Saturday will mark one year since the protests that followed the death of George Floyd and the riots in downtown Indianapolis. To this day, there are untold stories, including what it was like from the police perspective.

“Many officers have shared that on those two nights, they did not believe they were going to go home,” said Rick Snyder, the president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

The FOP and Snyder represent Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officers and their stories from those nights.

People took to the streets, carrying Black Lives Matter signs. The unrest spread into two nights of riots. It is hard to forget the images of shattered business windows and dumpsters on fire. The impact on the community will be ever lasting.

“We had four people shot, two that lost their lives during the riots,” said Snyder.

As rioters met with police, officers deployed pepper balls at the crowds and took on threats themselves.

IMPD said eight of their officers were hurt over the course of the riots. While signs of the violence downtown are virtually gone now, the memories of that weekend are still raw for police.

“We had officers that were pinned down by gunfire, that had rocks, bricks, frozen water bottles were thrown at them,” said Snyder.

Physically, all of the officers have recovered. However, the mental trauma is ongoing.

“Any officer that was there and actively involved in it will tell you that it was a complete war zone,” said Snyder.

News 8 asked IMPD if some of those officers could speak about their experiences first hand, but due to pending lawsuits, no one could talk. Still, the FOP said true transparency would be to hear all of the 911 calls from the riots.

“We know that there were over 8,000 911 calls that occurred over that time span,” said Snyder.

News 8 requested those tapes and police radio traffic. None have been made public this past year.

“Play the tapes. Play the radio traffic of the officers screaming for help – repeatedly calling out shots fired. That they were pinned down by gunfire. That they couldn’t escape and that in fact, no one could even get to them to rescue them. But yet, our politicians haven’t allowed those tapes to be released. We ask the question why?” said Snyder.

Instead, the 42-page report is public. It says a repeated lack of guidance, communication and planning from police and the mayor allowed downtown Indianapolis to be engulfed in violent behavior.

For police, it sheds light on a bigger issue.

“It’s our officers and residents that are stuck in the middle of the violence throughout our community. Not just during the riots,” said Snyder.

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