Carmel mayor lifts curfew, clarifies why he wanted to sue Minneapolis

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The city is lifting its curfew order.

Mayor Jim Brainard says the city is safe, but on Monday he was worried about possible violent protests.

Unlike downtown Indianapolis, where buildings are boarded up after rioting, Carmel appears untouched by protests and rioting.

However, many residents expressed concern after Brainard announced Monday that Carmel would sue Minneapolis for protection expenses after the death of George Floyd. Hours later, he rescinded that plan.

“An interesting concept, which I think would go nowhere,” said Carmel resident Joe Henderson. “My overall feeling is it kind of makes us look a little petty.”

Brainard says he hoped, by pressuring Minneapolis, the city would work faster toward a solution. He says he retracted his plans to sue because they would only send a message of intolerance to violence and looting.

“Some people clearly didn’t understand that,” Brainard said. “They saw it was a way to beat up on Minneapolis. That’s not the case. It was meant — how can we, who are suffering — quite honestly, the impact, and I understand it’s not solely that one incident, it’s cumulative incidents for many years in different areas. But, this is certainly one of the most flagrant, terrible examples of racism that we have seen. And it needs to be fixed. We’re looking at how do we put pressure on the police department, which is operated out of the city of Minneapolis, to make those changes?”

The most visible marks on Carmel from George Floyd’s death are sidewalks marked with chalk and spray paint outside one store. Marches in the Hamilton County city just north of Indianapolis have been peaceful. Brainard and the police chief even participated Tuesday night.

“It’ll heal gradually,” Ralph Payne said. “As time goes, people will start to heal. People start to heal naturally. This is a natural instinct with people. Apparently they want something done. They want change. When things like this happen, they want action, they want the law to be taken into consideration.”

The curfew may be lifted, but Brainard says the work isn’t over. He says the city of Carmel will continue to examine its police department and make changes for the better of all humanity.

“It’s going to cause a review of policies and procedures for how we police and interact with minority communities across the country,” Brainard said. “No department is perfect. I think our department does a good job, but it could;d certainly improve. A lot of departments have a lot of improving to make in my estimation.”

Brainard and the city’s police chief planned to speak at a solidarity vigil in Carmel on Wednesday night. Video from that vigil is on the WISH-TV Facebook page.