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Community meeting allows for conversation about Indianapolis police shootings

Indianapolis town hall meeting addresses police shootings

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A community town hall meeting was originally set for Monday to discuss the Aug. 3 police shooting death of Gary Harrell, but with Indianapolis police shooting and killing an armed man having a mental health episode Sunday night, the panel ended up discussing multiple shooting deaths.

The Community Resource District Council organized the event. There were representatives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, and the CRDC on hand to educate and take questions.

Many of the few dozen residents in attendance were upset with the way IMPD handled two of the most recent police shooting deaths. Some asked why an officer chose to shoot Gary Harrell in the back while others questioned the training and policies.

Police detailed their critical incident review process and the difference between a department investigation compared to a criminal investigation. IMPD explained that every officer must give a statement within 48 hours. This is not available for court proceedings.

One resident commented on the review process, saying, “So many times, you all keep saying we need to trust the process. ‘Look at the process, here’s our process’ and I’m not really sure you’ve given us the reason why we should trust the process in the first place…it’s so complicated. I definitely can’t understand anything.”

Curtis Godfrey, a former United States Marine, wants to know how officers can be better prepared to handle these situations.

“I believe it’s all about training,” Godfrey said. “And they acknowledge the training can be improved some. I think that would be a prerequisite to retraining the trainers.”

Arnetta Scruggs, co-chair of the CRDC, says the goal of the town hall meeting was to educate people on the policies in place, allow questions, and potentially create change from that.

“It’s going to do more of an education. We don’t know what we don’t know,” Scruggs said. “So a lot of times we assume we know what the process is but if we are educated today we can at least be able to create action steps that can lead to policy changes.”

IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams spoke at the event and acknowledged there needs to be a larger conversation about what it looks like to deal with mental health, disputes, and trauma.

The Community Resource District Council holds virtual meetings on Zoom on the last Monday of each month at 6 p.m. CRDC posted the entire meeting on their Facebook page.