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Indiana Black Caucus pushes for more police accountability

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus members said they'll spend the coming months drafting several new bills and amendments to current laws in preparation for the 2021 legislative session.

Posted: Aug 13, 2020 5:57 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus called Thursday for state lawmakers to increase accountability and transparency for the state’s police officers.

Caucus members released a wide-ranging package of criminal justice reform proposals that they plan to push for during next year’s legislative session.

Key to their policy agenda is establishing more frequent audits on public safety funds, funding body and dash cameras, reducing law enforcement in schools, automatic external investigations for officer-involved shootings, and requiring all law enforcement agencies to obtain independent liability insurance.

Marijuana decriminalization, enhanced protester protections and studying racism as a public health crisis are among the more than three dozen other points outlined by the caucus.

“We’re trying to keep the movement going,” Rep. Robin Shackleford said at a news conference Thursday. “We want to galvanize the voices of the streets into legislation.”

The reform agenda follows protests across the state about racial justice and police brutality, spurred by the police killing of George Floyd.

In June, the caucus called on Gov. Eric Holcomb to address justice reform in Indiana with a list of “immediate action items” that includes putting bans on chokeholds, racial profiling and no-knock warrants.

Shackleford said the governor has been “polite” and that caucus members have spoken with him several times, but added that she would like to “see more action from Gov. Holcomb, and immediate action.”

Rep. Earl Harris said the caucus has been working with various groups throughout the state – including the Indiana Sheriff’s Association, the Indiana State Police superintendent and victims of police-action shootings – to advocate for changes in police culture that can lead to racial profiling and police brutality.

Those changes include creating a whistleblower complaint process to make it easier for officers to come forward with complaints against other officers, as well as creating a statewide tracking system of officers who have complaints or prior disciplinary action.

“The last thing different agencies want is for one of their officers that has been a problem to then be able to go to another agency, or for them to take in someone, that they don’t know has a history of problems,” Harris said.

The caucus also wants to pave the way for local leaders to establish independent civilian review boards to oversee public complaints of police violence, Harris said.

But while Shackleford said the caucus believes in “re-imagining and restructuring the police,” they don’t support completely defending or eliminating the police. Funding is needed to change how police officers are trained and to ensure that all are equipped with cameras — which Shackleford emphasized requires legislative oversight — but said there is still “the need for law enforcement in our communities.”

Lawmakers are required to have legislation proposals together by December. Shackleford said caucus members anticipate proposing several new bills to be addressed during the 2021 legislative session, but because Democrats are the super-minority in the state’s General Assembly, they anticipate they’ll spend more time drafting amendments to current laws.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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Huntington
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Decatur
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