Demands are growing for IMPD to adopt body cameras
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A little over a month ago, a body camera grant came to an end for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. During the grant, the cameras caught IMPD officers in action as they responded to calls around the city.
On April 12, the cameras caught a glimpse of a police action shooting that resulted in the death of 35-year-old Mack Long. According to police, officers pulled Long over near the corner of 31st Street and Sherman Avenue. A short foot chase followed, then a struggle, shots were fired and Long died.
A grand jury cleared IMPD officers of any wrong doing after reviewing the video, stating that Long struggled with officers over a gun.
Some are calling for IMPD to bring the cameras back, this comes after an officer-involved shooting where 15-year-old Andre Green died after being shot multiple times. According to police, Green carjacked a man at gun point on Sunday evening. The teen, who was currently on home detention with an ankle bracelet, drove the stolen car into a dead end.
Officers surrounded Green and his accomplices ran out of the car. Police say Green then rammed the stolen car into a squad car.
There were no body cameras, no cell phone videos, or grainy footage from a dash camera in Green’s investigation.
The Indiana Black Expo in a statement urged IMPD to bring back the cameras:
Our prayers and condolences are with the family of 15-year old Andre Green and the entire Indianapolis community at this difficult time. We understand that IMPD is currently investigating the shooting. As they continue to gather evidence and interview prospective witnesses, we urge anyone that has information or video that captured what occurred to come forward. Andre Green, his family and the police officers involved deserve a thorough investigation, one leading to a just result, and we understand it will not be completed overnight. We will refrain from drawing any conclusions until the investigation is completed.
As our community heals and gains a better understanding of the timeline of events that led to this tragic incident, we must continue to have honest dialogue about holistic approaches aimed at preserving and maximizing human life – particularly the lives of our Black men. We cannot lose another young man in this manner without it interrupting our conscious. We reinforce our commitment to work alongside the community to move forward strategies to improve the quality of life for all Indianapolis residents. Your Life Matters® aims to achieve better life outcomes for young African Americans males in our community by working in partnership with numerous organizations and individuals dedicated to providing love, hope and support. We must ALL work together to build and maintain a safe and healthy city that provides the best opportunities to lead a productive and quality life.
Lastly, we must follow the lead of other police departments and require that all members of IMPD wear body cameras. Having a video of all police officer shootings will provide more transparency for our community. Body cams are also known to reduce officer shootings and deter officers from inappropriate conduct. We ask that Mayor Greg Ballard and the Marion County City County Council strongly consider including a line item in the proposed 2015 budget to procure body cameras for our police officers.”
Director of Public Safety Dr. David Wantz adds the body cameras cost anywhere between $600 to $1,200. The cost doesn’t appear to be an issue. The department is more concerned about where the footage will be stored and for how long.
“We are continuing to look at this. We will put into the budget to buy them. There is a federal loan we will tap into as well,” said Wantz.
Wantz is expecting a full report on storage issues later this week. So far, there is no timetable on when the department will get the body cameras.