I-Team 8

Indianapolis mayor talks about May protests, what’s ahead if more happen

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor gathered together Wednesday for another monthly public safety walk with area residents.

This month, the walk was held on the city’s near-southwest side.

The monthly gatherings are meant to help residents and IMPD officers build bridges of trust and strengthen the relationships between them.

At the same time as Wednesday’s walk in Indianapolis, protesters were gathering in Louisville, Ky., to show their opposition for the grand jury’s decision to not charge officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor.

The events in Louisville come nearly four months after Indianapolis protests turned violent in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Hogsett and other city officials were criticized for their lack of response during those protests and many businesses were left damaged. A few downtown buildings remain boarded up, and some downtown merchants said they have no plans to uncover windows anytime soon.

“I think it is fair to say, the first night, I don’t think it is unfair to say that (May 29) Friday night’s levels of vandalism and looting surprised everybody, if I had it to do all over again I think we would have changed our tactics on Saturday night (May 30) differently than we did,” Hogsett said.

The City of Indianapolis is still waiting for the grand jury in the Dreasjon Reed case to render a decision. Reed was fatally shot by police May 6. His death also sparked protests in the city.

Regardless of what happens in Reed’s case, there is some concern there could be protests in the downtown area. A spokesperson for IMPD said the department will adjust as needed to protect the safety and security of the community.

News 8 asked Hogsett what directions he has given the police department in the event of more protests.

“We will do everything we can to make sure that it doesn’t happen. A lot of these things are up to the people that participate in them, and I really think there is a separate distinction between those who are coming downtown in those situations to express their frustration and to peacefully protest over and against those who obviously came downtown those two nights to reek havoc and to create chaos,” Hogsett said.

The City of Louisville declared a state of emergency Wednesday and set up barriers and boarded up windows. Hogsett said he would not take those kind of steps because he believed it sends the wrong message.