Indiana Black Expo kicks off as city mourns recent violence

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This year's Indiana Black Expo expo is in a tough spot.

Its Summer Celebration kicks off while the city is in mourning and concerned about the increasing violence in the city. Expo officials Wednesday praised IMPD, shared the grief of a city and promised a safe, fun and educational 10 days beginning Thursday.

The job fair, health fair, concerts, family events and other activities support Expo's year-round programs. It brings millions of dollars and tens of thousands of people downtown.

This year, like others, IMPD and other public safety agencies are putting large numbers of officers there to direct traffic and control crowds. IMPD knows who they don't want and sent them a message

"Everyone is welcome to come down, but certainly you need to act like you're supposed to act downtown," said IMPD Deputy Chief Mike Bates. "If you're going to bring any guns, if you're going to bring weapons downtown, we don't want you. A lot of our officers will be in plain clothes conducting surveillance so you just never know who's watching you."

Expo leaders said there will be plenty of good stuff for plenty of people starting Thursday night with the traditional prayer and worship service.