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City, state leaders speak on overnight protests in Indianapolis

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Police Chief Randal Taylor held a press conference Saturday afternoon following a night of unrest as protests turned violent overnight.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Taylor announced 27 arrests were made overnight after protesters failed to block the road. Thirty businesses and five IMPD cars were also damaged.

Police say three police officers and three protesters were also injured.

You can watch the full press conference on Facebook.

Following that conference, community and faith leaders gathered on the Indiana Statehouse steps, where they denounced rioting and looting and called for peaceful protest.

Other state and city leaders released statements regarding the overnight protests.

Governor Eric Holcomb

Hoosiers have long been people who find solutions to the challenges we face, whether it be in response to a pandemic or to an injustice like the world witnessed so tragically inflicted upon Mr. George Floyd in Minnesota.

As I stated yesterday, injuring the innocent in response to an injustice is counterproductive. I’ve asked the Indiana State Police to fully support and make resources available to local communities across our state to ensure our citizens and their property remain safe.

In the days ahead, peaceful assembly and clear voices will be important if we are to make progress.  Violence and vandalism will set us back in our shared desire to resolve differences.  Let us again, each of us, be part of the solution.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett

Like so many in Indianapolis, I was horrified by the needless killing of George Floyd. I also recognize that the frustration and anger on display over the last few days isn’t new – it has been felt by communities of color for hundreds of years in a country that has far too often fallen short of providing liberty and justice for all.

The systemic racism of our past and present must be acknowledged and addressed. At a successful protest that occurred last night, hundreds of residents did just that, peacefully exercising their right to free speech.

Unfortunately, after the organizers of that event ended the protest, a smaller group of individuals abandoned this message of positive change. I am saddened that so many people and businesses were injured in the violence that ensued. While the emotions that fueled this vandalism may be justified, the actions that were taken and the harm that it has caused are simply unacceptable and did nothing to further the cause of progress.

Last night’s injuries included three law enforcement officers, as well as an individual who received serious injuries while kicking in glass and was saved when an IMPD officer applied a tourniquet and delivered life-saving care. I also want to recognize the actions of the Indianapolis Fire Department to contain multiple fires that were set, as well as our local media that provided necessary journalism under incredibly difficult circumstances.

Our office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department remain committed to ensuring the safety of peaceful protesters, and I would ask all who speak out in the days that follow to reject the tactics of those who would diminish a movement toward national action into unproductive destruction.

U.S. Representative André Carson

Black people in this country have been unheard for far too long, despite our pleas to stop the senseless killing of our loved ones. I’m proud that as a community, we are raising our voices in unison against injustice.

We must be sure, however, that our advocacy is organized, strategic and yields lasting results — in our community, and across America. Let’s make our voices be heard even louder and clearer at the ballot box this year, to bring about lasting change that saves lives.

Downtown Indy

The safety and wellbeing of person and property for those who live, work and visit Downtown is Downtown Indy, Inc.’s greatest concern shared by our business members and partners.

What took place last night and early this morning did remarkable and senseless damage to businesses and residential properties that will take millions to rebuild and restore. What is most devastating is that the businesses targeted with destruction and looting are the very businesses seeking to lift up racial inequities by employing men and women of all races and minorities – but will now be closed for weeks, months and perhaps forever.

Downtown Indy, Inc. calls on all business and community leaders of all races to demand an end to illegal and dangerous behaviors that have riddled our urban core. We also call upon these same leaders to seek to understand the pent-up anger existing in minority communities and speak out against injustice and inequality and make systemic changes where appropriate.

Peaceful protests are acceptable and welcome, but not when they lead to destruction of property and violence towards fellow humans.

Indy Chamber

The opportunity to succeed is central to the growth of Indianapolis, and significant barriers including systemic racism threaten this opportunity. We recognize the longstanding anger and frustration that has been building in our city and our nation in response to violent acts against communities of color, and we support peaceful protests that address this injustice and call for change. When reactions turn violent, however, they not only detract from this call, they undermine the important message of the protests, and shift the focus to destruction and injury. Violent acts against fellow citizens and local businesses must not continue.

Indianapolis has proven throughout its history that in challenging times, we embrace our differences and come together to strengthen the ties between our friends and neighbors. Meaningful change must occur to build a truly inclusive economy. We can and will find peaceful resolution, but only if we work together.

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