INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Police reform has taken on many forms in Indiana over the last couple years. The Indianapolis chapter of the NAACP says all that is a good start, but we’re far from finished.
Tensions following George Floyd’s death boiled over in Indianapolis. In the days after, we saw violence, protests, and witnessed civilians, law makers, and police vow to press for change. For some, even though Floyd died two years ago, the push for justice lives on.
A movement demanding police reform transformed Indiana’s streets. In the middle of a global pandemic, some argued that there was another pandemic, one of police brutality.
“COVID-19 really gave us a chance to step back and really start to determine what’s important, and how we feel about treating people,” TyJuan Garrett, Vice President of the Greater Indianapolis NAACP, said.
He said the outrage that sprang out of George Floyd’s death propelled people around the state to not just stand up and talk, but to act.
“In order to make the community better, you have to understand your community. The community is not by the loudest voice,” Garrett said.
In two years time, the state government passed legislation. Mandating officers undergo de-escalation training, provided funding for expanded body cameras, and implemented bans on choke holds.
“I feel well about the steps we are making, but we still have a ways to go. They are still underlining issues,” Garrett said. “Number one at the heart of it is a respect, and you have to respect the person as an individual.”
In tandem with the other steps to create police reform, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department partnered with the Indy Public Safety Foundation to provide racial and cultural sensitivity training to new recruits, while also convening the IMPD Diversity Inclusion Council. Garrett says now is the prime time to adapt, and not let it be just a phase.
“You’re never going to be there, times change. You have to adjust with the times. You have to adapt, and change. That’s the key thing,” Garrett said.
News 8 reached out to the mayor’s office. News 8 was told they are moving forward with civilian appointees in its’ use of force review and bystander intervention efforts. They are optimistic about efforts to keep people out of jail with the recent opening of the new community justice campus.