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Officer-involved shootings: 14 total, 10 within three months, two within one week 

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There has been an officer-involved shooting in every IMPD district this year.  

During the week of Oct. 23, two officer-involved shootings occurred within two days of each other.  

RELATED: Suspect killed, officer injured in latest officer-involved shooting 

“We don’t know why we’re seeing these numbers. We have to find out if there is some kind of commonality. We do know that when people disobey the police or they disobey lawful orders that’s a problem,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams on the scene where a man was shot out of a tree by an IMPD officer. 

Officer-involved shootings: Man shot out of a tree

According to IMPD, an officer was patrolling the area near East 25th Street and Park Avenue at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24 when he heard gunshots and saw a vehicle speeding away.  

Officer-involved shootings: 14 total, 10 within three months, two within one week 
There has been an officer-involved shooting in every IMPD district this year. (Photo/Indianapolis Recorder file)

The officer pulled the vehicle over for a traffic stop, at which point the car stopped and the driver got out.   

Moments later, the driver fled from the officer. As police called to the scene searched for the suspect, they found the vehicle crashed into a pole near 25th Street and Columbia Avenue.   

RELATED: IMPD shot man out of tree in latest officer-involved shooting 

The suspect was found in a tree nearby.   

“He was making comments about a medical condition and his wellbeing. Officers told him not to reach several times. At some point the suspect made a comment to the point of, ‘I’m going in my pocket. Kill me,’ and one officer discharged his firearm striking the suspect,” said Adams.  

IMPD said that when the suspect reached down, an officer shot the suspect once.  

Man shot IMPD officer in leg before being shot and killed

Two days later, a shooting incident on the east side of Indianapolis resulted in the death of a suspect and injury to an IMPD officer.    

According to IMPD, officers were conducting an investigation on East 21st Street and N. Shadeland Avenue around 5:40 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27 when an officer recognized a man who had been trespassing at the Rodeway Inn.  

To evade police, the man ran into a local Burger King restaurant nearby. 

Officers entered the business and located the suspect near the restrooms.   

The officers grabbed the suspect by the hands to get him to leave, and he began to resist. An officer and the suspect began tussling, and the suspect was able to unholster the officer’s gun and shoot them in the leg.  

The officer was grazed and is in good condition. 

The officer used his secondary weapon to shoot the man who was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and died after arriving.  

Witnesses say the suspect suffered from mental health issues and was a known panhandler in the area.  

Officer-involved shootings: IMPD responds

“Maybe, just maybe, officers and detectives use force based on the actions of those they encounter. Each one of these unfortunate incidents has its own facts and have to be evaluated on those unique facts. No officer leaves home wanting to shoot another person,” said Assistant Chief of Police Chris Bailey in a tweet. 

“IMPD is the best trained and most transparent agency in the state. No agency has made more changes over the last four years to meet community expectations and it’s ongoing. We need to support our cops when they are right with the same vigor as we highlight the failures. Otherwise, we won’t have cops.”  

So far, there have been 14 IMPD officer-involved shootings in 2023. 

Officer-involved shootings: 14 total, 10 within three months, two within one week 
The Indianapolis Liberation Center says their attempts at getting Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears to meet with them in the last two months has been met with broken promises & the police called on them for showing up at his offices. (Photo/Jade Jackson

Ten shootings have occurred since Aug. 1. 

There were 13 officer-involved shootings in 2021 and 7 in 2020. 

The Indianapolis Recorder reported that only two officer-involved shootings occurred in 2022 when it published an initial report on Sept. 7. 

The transparent data has since been updated on the state government’s website and is now reporting twelve officer-involved shootings.

Rally for Gary Harrell

On Saturday, Oct. 28, the Hovey Street Church, Indianapolis Liberation Center, ANSWER Coalition, Faith in Indiana, and the friends and neighbors of Gary Harrell, who was shot by police Aug. 3, rallied and marched for justice. 

RELATED: Black Church Coalition addressing officer-involved shootings

“We are tired, frustrated and fed up with all of this police brutality against us. This was my brother, my oldest brother. We need justice, and we’re ready for a conviction. Stand with us; support us because it could have been one of your loved ones,” said Melissa “Missy” Williams, Harrell’s sister. 

“We grew up with this lady named Linda Davis. Her son was gunned down on 25th and Shadeland the other night by IMPD; the homeless man, he goes by the name of Man Man. We need justice.”  

Williams’ family said they personally knew the latest shooting victim, which adds an extra layer of hurt, confusion and frustration to their grief over Harrell’s death. 

Officer-involved shootings: 14 total, 10 within three months, two within one week 
Melissa “Missy” Williams, Gary Harrell’s little sister said she and her family know the latest IMPD officer-involved shooting victim. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

They are calling on the community to rally together to push for systemic change within the justice system.  

“We’ve been working with the family for a few weeks now. The Indianapolis Liberation Center has been standing beside them to bring awareness and justice to his case,” said an organizer with the Indianapolis Liberation Center, Stephen Lane.  

“We want officers to be held accountable and fired. I don’t feel that it’s right that officers in these incidents get to take vacations disguised as administrative leave on our dime.”  

He said organizers have been attempting to schedule meetings with Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears but to no avail.  

Other community members respond

Lane has watched how the case of Anthony Maclin – another shooting victim of IMPD who was shot while sleeping in his grandmother’s driveway last year – played out.  

RELATED: Family suing IMPD and seeking justice after man shot while sleeping in grandmother’s driveway

It took nine months to bring charges against officers in that case, and Lane said that is too long. The Indianapolis Liberation Center is demanding a quicker response for Harrell’s case. 

Watching recent officer-involved shootings happen after Harrell’s incident within the last three months has Lane shaken. 

“I’m very disturbed. It feels like it’s an uptick. It feels like police are just picking us off one by one for demanding better public safety help, but that’s not going to stop us,” said Lane.  

Officer-involved shootings: 14 total, 10 within three months, two within one week 
Organizers held the rally at the same spot where Harrell took his last breath on Saturday, October 29. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

“IMPD as a whole is having problems retaining and recruiting officers, and I think the people who would want to be a part of public safety are worried that there aren’t any systems in place to hold officers accountable.”  

Statement:

The Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and the Baptist Minister’s Alliance released a statement following the officer-involved incident that resulted in a man getting shot out of a tree:                     

These acts of violence against people suffering from mental illness cannot continue to happen. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  

The silence of our Chief of Police and city leadership at the very top is deafening when it comes to the number of police action shootings taking place in our city.  

While the community understands that one needs to comply with police commands, this cannot be the baseline for every situation, or all people suffering from a mental illness issue are now subject to being shot by IMPD officers. 

The organizations continue to call for the resignation of IMPD Chief Randy Taylor. 

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON 

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