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Friday, June 14, 2024

African American Coalition, NAACP release statements following officer-involved slaying

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Earlier this week, IMPD officers shot and killed 45-year-old Aaron Bailey, following a short pursuit on the city’s northwest side.

According to IMPD, Bailey led officers on a short vehicle chase which ended in the intersection of 23rd and Aqueduct St. after the vehicle crashed. Two officers approached the vehicle to make apprehension, after which point shots were fired, striking Bailey who was transported via EMS to Eskenazi Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

“The loss of any life in our city is a tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers are with all individuals and families affected by (the) incident,” said Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett in a written statement. “Our residents expect that IMPD will stringently follow protocol by fully investigating and reviewing the actions that were taken. We will continue to engage local faith and community leaders to reiterate a commitment to handling this process with openness, transparency, and compassion.”

Following the news, many members of the African-American community expressed outrage and called for an intense investigation to be conducted into the use of force. 

Today, the African American Coalition of Indianapolis released the following statement on the fatal shooting: 

We mourn for Aaron Bailey and with his family and loved ones over the terrible tragedy surrounding the loss of his life. We have witnessed numerous communities across the country experience the tragic loss of unarmed community members in police action shootings that have raised the question do Black lives matter? While we respect the role of IMPD in our community, we have learned that Indianapolis is not immune from this terrible situation–where again a community is left with questions after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black person.  This situation has angered, frustrated and frightened people in our community.  Compounding on the tragic loss of life, is a sense that the justice system has failed many of the Black victims of police action shootings nationwide. We have witnessed too many failed indictments in the grand jury process, which too often leaves larger questions about the efficacy of the criminal justice system for all citizens.

 

 For our part, members of the African American Coalition of Indianapolis have already expressed their concerns to IMPD Chief, Bryan Roach. Lines of communication that have been open and meant to encourage community and police relations remain so yet a trust gap persists.  We will redouble our efforts to ensure that there is a just outcome for all parties involved. We are working with other concerned citizens on the broader issues of training, transparency, engagement and accountability. We are also calling for an independent investigation by a committee composed of law enforcement, civic leaders and concerned citizens. We intend to continue to monitor the investigation process and we expect IMPD and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to provide regular updates moving forward. We understand that the best of IMPD protects and serves. IMPD is our police department and it is incumbent upon us to work together to continue to define the type of police interactions we desire as citizens.

Signers: 

Indianapolis Urban League

Indiana Black Expo

Indianapolis Recorder

Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis

Marion County Bar Association

Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League

100 Black Men of Indianapolis

Circle City  (IN) Chapter of The Links, Inc.

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., Alpha Alpha Omega

Alpha Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section

The Greater Indianapolis chapter of the NAACP also released this statement in a press release: 

“Use of excessive force by law enforcement officers can no longer be tolerated in our communities. The lack of accountability erodes trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve which impedes the ability to solve crime,” Mrs. Ratcliffe said. “The NAACP is committed to a proactive approach to police shootings and all other forms of police brutality.  Our solution to this egregious problem is accountability.

 “It is a human and civil rights issue. When there are no systems for accountability, safety is affected and anyone can be a victim. Let Indianapolis be the last time people lose their lives and families are terrorized by a police force without accountability. Law enforcement accountability means safer communities for us all.”

The NAACP Indianapolis leadership, community leaders, faith leaders and concerned citizens are calling for:

1.     A credible investigation into the incident and accountability for the law enforcement officer’s actions.

2.     Establishment of a civilian review board with subpoena power

3.     The U.S. Department of Justice to launch a full criminal and “pattern and practice” investigation into the Indianapolis police force, which has experienced a rash of police shootings in the past 10 years. 

4.     Congress to enact legislation to mandate official standards for and training in the use of force for all law enforcement officers.  Congressman John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act.

The NAACP Greater Indianapolis Branch believes a civilian review board with subpoena and disciplinary powers can create the necessary accountability for the Indianapolis police force.

“It is appropriate that in conferring the police with powers, particularly the power to use lethal force, that civilians have a role in determining the standards by which they are policed,” Mrs. Ratcliffe said.

An independent civilian review board affords citizens with an opportunity to engage in that role by providing a venue through which to air grievances, express concerns, and voice recommendations.

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