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Street takeovers taking over Indianapolis

Street takeovers taking over Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Sunday nights, it is not uncommon for hundreds of people to gather on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Recently, large gatherings have attracted violence, street racing, and spinning contests.  

“We can’t continue to have these kinds of events where traffic is blocked, there is lawlessness, and where there is chaos in the neighborhood,” said Rev. Charles Harrison of Indy’s Ten Point Coalition. 

On Sunday nights, MLK Street resembles the Wild West of Indianapolis. For several hours, traffic can be at a standstill. The blaring music barely overpowers the chorus of roaring engines and squealing tires. There have even been people traversing the streets on horseback.

“Some people might accept it, but we are hearing complaints. People are tired of others coming in from other cities and other neighborhoods into their neighborhood and causing these disruptions,” Lt. Shane Foley with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.  

The disruptions are more than stopped traffic. Over the weekend city-wide, IMPD arrested four people, wrote 6 traffic citations, seized 3 illegal firearms, and arrested another on an outstanding warrant.

Officers also got into a pursuit and arrested another person. All of these events took place at street takeovers.  

In order to get the traffic moving and the street opened up, IMPD had to call in extra cops trained to deal with large crowds. Over the last couple of weeks, Harrison says the crowd has become increasingly violent.  

“The drama would come with the violence. We started having shootings, shots fired, and sadly, I think four or five people have been killed prior to (the fatal shooting) on Sunday night, within a block of MLK between 25th and 29th Street,” Harrison said.

Harrison says the crowd gathering on MLK recently is nothing like it used to be. For years, maybe even decades, Sunday night on MLK was the place to cruise and meet up with friends. Food trucks lined the street and the neighborhood joined in. There weren’t many problems.  

“It was not until kind of the younger crowd started participating in what was happening on Sunday that the whole atmosphere kind of changed,” Harrison said.

IMPD is looking for the people using their cars to block the road, along with those who come out to burn the rubber off their tires during spinning contests.

The city of Louisville deals with large gatherings like these by seizing the cars blocking traffic and doing donuts in the street. IMPD doesn’t have those tools to work with.   

“Our ability to tow a vehicle depends on the situation, we can’t seize vehicles like is an option in some other jurisdictions,” Foley said.

Harrison and others in the neighborhood are asking the city-county council to take the lead on stopping street racing, spinning, and takeovers.