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2 clergy groups want Indianapolis police chief to resign

Chief Randal Taylor of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The leaders of the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and the Baptist Minister’s Alliance say they have had enough of Chief Randal Taylor of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

They say he is protecting powerful business owners while turning his back on the average citizen. Taylor was named the IMPD chief in January 2020.

The Rev. David Greene, the president of Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, took to the podium Wednesday morning and wasted no time in blasting the chief: “Chief Taylor continues to protect police officers at the expense of creating a culture of accountability.”

Greene pointed out instances where, in his words, the actions of police officers were protected by Taylor, starting with the beating of two women during the May-June 2020 riots in downtown Indianapolis.

Greene also cited the April 25, 2022 death of Herman Whitfield III during a mental health crisis, after which a Marion County grand jury indicted two IMPD officers.

More recently, six days ago, police fatally shot Gary Dewayne Harrell.

Greene said, “It was the recent shooting that triggered that we had enough. They were done prior to the Use of Force committee and the general order boards, etc. We had hopes that these items would shift the culture. We have now learned those items have not shifted the culture and will not shift the culture.”

The two clergymen say Indianapolis is not a safe city and point to the number of homicides: more than 200 a year since Taylor was appointed chief of police. The clergymen also cited and more than 700 nonfatal shootings since he became police chief.

They say IMPD can do better catching the bad guys, with around 25% of the crimes solved.

A statement from Mayor Joe Hogsett says he stands behind Taylor. Hogsett is a Democrat facing reelection this year against Republican Jefferson Shreve:

“Under Chief Taylor’s leadership, IMPD has instituted many of its most important transparency and accountability measures, including body cameras for all patrol officers, the distribution of critical incident review videos, civilian majorities on the use of force and general orders boards, and more. The work of IMPD has been critical in reducing criminal homicides by 16% last year, and an additional 12% this year, alongside declines across other major crime categories. Chief Taylor has my support.”  

News 8 questioned the clergymen about why they are asking for Taylor’s resignation now. The Rev. Wayne Moore of the Baptist Minister’s Alliance said he and other members of the clergy met with Taylor shortly after he was appointed and had doubts three years ago.

“It was then we respect him as a man and then told him that we didn’t think that he would be the chief we needed at this hour.” Moore said.

IMPD issued a statement about the chief, shown in part below, and then listed his accomplishments since becoming chief.

“Since becoming Chief in 2020, he has worked tirelessly for our city, the department, and its employees to be transparent and accountable. He has directed the department to be laser-focused on protecting every neighborhood and all those who live, work, and visit our great city.

“His entire tenure, Chief Taylor has remained committed to maintaining positive police-community relationships, reducing violent crime, responding to 911 calls for service, investigating and solving major crimes, and maintaining high levels of training for our officers.     

“Ensuring processes are followed and maintaining the integrity of any investigation are essential to true accountability. We owe it to those directly involved, our community, and our officers.”