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Indiana Black Legislative Caucus unveils justice reform agenda for 2020 session

The caucus members said Governor Holcomb has been polite in listening to their ideas but has not taken action.
Credit: WTHR
Indiana Black Legislative Caucus members discuss their justice reform agenda for 2020.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) revealed their full justice reform agenda for the upcoming 2020 session. While they do not believe in totally defunding the police, they are in favor of revamping and reforming police departments. 

The caucus members said Governor Holcomb has been polite in listening to their ideas but has not taken action. They are now actively working with republican lawmakers to get legislation passed.

The IBLC justice reform agenda covers five key areas:

Save lives

• Amend body attachment statute — No custody

• Ban no-knock warrants

• Ban racial profiling

• Ban use of chokeholds and neck restraints

• Decriminalization of marijuana — Include sentencing modification and MBE/WBE/VBE goals

• Decriminalization of mental illness — Strike teams for non-violent events and direct funding to treatment options

• Decriminalize Jim Crow-era/ non-violent crimes

• Develop inclusive hate crime law

• Malicious false reporting to a law enforcement agency — Allow for a civil action and relief

• Protester protection

• Reduce jail overcrowding — Amend bail statutes according to Chief Justice Rush’s recommendations, including decreasing Level 6 felonies

• Reduction of GPS monitoring — During pretrial issue, the same credit as being jailed pending trial

• School Resource Officers — Remove and replace with social workers

• Study of juvenile criminal justice system

• Study on racism as health crisis

• SWAT — Local police departments develop internal policies that call for appropriate restraints on the use of SWAT or paramilitary deployment

Hold accountable

• Annual evaluation of all executed searches, warrants, arrests, use of force and lethal use of force incidents to determine bias

• Automatic external investigation — Shooting of unarmed/retreating civilians

• Civil forfeiture — Allow portions of funds obtained to be redirected to communities for neighborhood  development/redevelopment

• Enhanced penalties for shootings involving officers — Investigation by State Police

• Independent liability insurance — Requirement of all law enforcement agencies

• Law enforcement officers held accountable for not appearing in drug search cases

• Preamble for criminal code — Criminal justice system to be administered for the purpose of restoration to society and rehabilitation

Empower communities

• Establish a statewide youth justice advisory group

• Increase work with community groups — Access federal public safety innovation grants

• Independent civilian review boards — Disciplinary authority, diverse composition and increased training

• Statewide citizen review board — Review cases of police misconduct and use of fatal excessive force

Change culture

• Community policing — Require officers to live in the city of employment and assign to those communities; receive preference in hiring

• Confidential whistleblower complaint process for officers

• Hiring law enforcement officers — Mental health testing, expand national background checks utilizing the National Decertification Index, and review of social media accounts

• Issue of summons to appear vs. arrest

• Licensing/certification program for law enforcement officers

• Mental health reviews for all law enforcement officers semi-annually

• Officer training — Review and update annually, perform throughout year and make more interactive, and expand training on implicit bias, dispute resolution, de-escalation methods and sexual orientation.

Improve transparency

• Fraternal Order of Police contracts — Public record on Indiana Transparency Portal and require public hearing for renewal

• Law enforcement lawsuits — Attorney General to collect data on offenses and funds spent to settle lawsuits

• Monitor law enforcement officers with a history of complaints/violations

• Publicly report lethal force involving law enforcement

• State audits on public safety funds

• Statewide public database — Citizen complaints against law enforcement officers, and list of disciplined and terminated officers

• Statewide use of and funding for body and dashboard cameras

• Use of force continuum data collection — Include use of force incidents, type of force used and the demographics of officers and civilians involved

WATCH LIVE: Indiana Black Legislative Caucus is revealing its full justice reform agenda for the upcoming 2020 session.

Posted by WTHR-TV on Thursday, August 13, 2020