Make your home page

Shabazz defends past comments on crime and poverty

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz talks News 8 on Feb. 2, 2023, in the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Building. Shabazz revealed April 28 that he was treated in a Hendricks County ICU for nearly four days after being admitted for shortness of breath. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Republican mayoral candidate Abdul-Hakim Shabazz on Friday said past comments on crime were meant to provoke thought and discussion.

Democrats already are targeting Shabazz over past comments he has made such as a 2015 op-ed in which he referred to the matter of homicides involving people with past felony convictions as “a self-cleaning oven.”

Shabazz said he stands by his past comments and that they were meant to illustrate shortcomings with the way the city handles issues such as crime.

“I’m a talk-show host. That was my job,” he said. “My job is to provoke people to think.”

Shabazz is one of three Republicans who filed to run in that party’s mayoral primary ahead of Friday’s noon deadline. In an interview for Sunday’s “All INdiana Politics,” he said he plans to meet with leaders of Marion County’s judicial system if elected to find ways to limit offenses by prior offenders or persons who are out on bail. For people convicted of more low-level offenses, he said the city should look into enrolling them in courses at Ivy Tech as a condition of probation.

Shabazz said he also plans to address infrastructure if elected, especially finding long-term solutions to the city’s pothole problems. He said one possibility is directing 1 cent per gallon of fuel tax revenue from each gas station toward road and sidewalk maintenance in the area immediately surrounding the station. Shabazz said the city might need to work with the state legislature to get the authority to do so.

Shabazz is one of four Republicans who filed to run before Friday’s noon deadline for major-party candidates. The others are James Jackson, John Couch and Jefferson Shreve. The winner of the May 2 GOP race will face the winner of the Democratic primary. That is a six-way race featuring incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett and state Rep. Robin Shackleford, among others.

Independent and third-party candidates still have time to file.

All INdiana Politics” airs at 9:30 a.m. Sundays on WISH-TV.