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Ministers in Indianapolis call for law enforcers to end violence against Black men

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nichols, Whitfield, Floyd: Three names that have become synonyms with police brutality.

A group of Indianapolis ministers is working to keep the list of names from growing. The Interdominational Ministerial Alliance of Indianapolis hosted local law enforcement leaders Tuesday at The Jewel Event Center on the near-north side.

One of the ministers, Lionel Rush, said in the gathering, “I think what happened in Memphis on Jan. 7 is a point from which we should never return.”

Rush is not a man to mince words. On Tuesday morning, he had the attention of the police chiefs of Carmel and Indianapolis, the U.S. attorney for the Indianapolis district, the Marion County prosecutor and several elected-office holders. His message: Police have to stop killing Black men.

“The mission of police departments whether or not we will allow them to continue to be politicized, whether they will be racist, whether they will have cultures of violence and shrouded in secrecy, whether they will be open and have real community relationships, one of the things police departments do, if you see something say something, and one of the things the community has to do, when you see something, you say something.”

Rush says changes in policing need to come from prosecutors. Herman Whitfield III died in Indianapolis after police used a stun gun on him in his parents’ home in 2022. Police have released bodycam video of the incident. Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears says his office is still investigating,  

Mears said, “I will tell you and the community we do anticipate a resolution sooner rather than later. It is something everyone is working on.”

Tyre Nichols’ case in Memphis has been widely published. Some of the Memphis police officers involved have been fired and are facing murder charges. An incident such as the Nichols beating at the hands of police places all police officers under a level of scrutiny.

Bishop David Hall is a minister in Memphis. He is originally from Indianapolis. Hall says a change in police behavior will come only with clear, ethical investigations.

“People will access the good that comes from actions if it is done with integrity. Then it becomes a guidepost for creating change, strengthening our society and bringing us together. It will then be something that all people whether Black or white, rich or poor, if it is done ethically and morally, we can come together.”

Hall added that the conversation about police violence has to get outside of meetings such as Tuesday’s for “real change” to happen.