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Indianapolis council considers hiring lawyers to fight gun crime

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis City-County Council is willing to put up $225,000 toward the salaries of three attorneys. They will be employed by the city, paid by the city, but work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on a special team designed to curb gun crimes in Indy.  

“When federal charges are filed pretrial release options are not available,” said Rick Synder of the Fraternal Order of Police.  

If the City-County Council passes this proposal, three attorneys are expected to handle the most violent, repeat gun crime offenders in the county. The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police applauded the mayor and council for taking this step.  

“When we arrest somebody for a state gun charge and the local Marion County court system cycles them right back out into the neighborhoods with a low bond, even if they are a repeat violent offender. That does not happen at the federal level,” Synder said. 

Mayor Hogsett is a former federal prosecutor and said last week that federal charges will result in bad actors being taken off the street for longer periods than state charges. Synder says at the federal level those accused of a gun crime are often denied bail and must serve the majority of their sentence in prison.

Snyder says the Marion County courts have become, by design, a revolving door for criminals that has helped feed the rise in gun crimes.  

“And then the next thing we know we have a retribution shooting, a retribution killing, or a new offense that has occurred. And then the worst part is, many times that suspect because they were out on pretrial release now become the last victim of violence which could not have happened if they were still locked up,” Synder said. 

The Indianapolis police union had been asking the council to fund five new positions that would be assigned to the United States Attorney’s Office. In the past cases, Snyder says gun crime cases from Indianapolis have overwhelmed that office.

Zach Myers, U.S. attorney based in Indianapolis, sent I-Team 8 a statement.  

“Federal prosecution of the most serious offenses is a vital tool in the fight against violent crimes. Our new partnership with the City of Indianapolis will enhance our ability to hold accountable those who are driving gun violence in our neighborhoods.”

Zach Myers, U.S. attorney

The proposal is expected to be heard in the City-Council Administration and Finance Committee Tuesday night before coming in front of the full council for a vote.