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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Black Caucus lays out justice reform action plan for Gov. Holcomb

IBLC is pressing Gov. Eric Holcomb to take action to reform Indiana's criminal justice system in light of the killing of George Floyd.
(WTHR)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) has laid out four steps for Gov. Eric Holcomb and local government leaders to immediately take in an effort to reform the criminal justice system.

The steps are Phase 1 of a two-phase plan to cause tangible change in the state.

  1. We urge Governor Holcomb to issue an immediate executive order to immediately ban law enforcement from using chokehold restraints, or other means of restraint that cut off the ability to breathe, as a means of effectuating an arrest in Indiana. This order must include specific repercussions officers will face for violating this ban.
  2. If there is no action by the governor, we urge Indiana mayors, city councils and chiefs of police to immediately establish a local policy that outlaws the use of a chokehold restraint, or other means of restraint that cut off the ability to breathe, as a means of effectuating an arrest in Indiana. Additionally, we urge these entities to immediately implement the use of body cameras for all patrol officers and require them to be on at all times. If not, a penalty should be assessed.
  3. We urge the governor to immediately establish a Statewide Criminal Justice Commission, including a diverse appointing of civilian representatives from the cities with significant African American populations, to examine every aspect of our state’s criminal justice system and recommend comprehensive criminal justice reform, including the eradication of racist policing policies. We expect these recommendations to become bills that get passed in the 2021 Legislative Session.
  4. We urge Indiana mayors, city councils and chiefs of police to immediately establish local Independent Civilian Review Boards, with members selected by local community activist groups, to review public complaints of police violence.

The second phase of the plan involves lawmakers taking legislative action. IBLC said it will put together a legislative action plan with input from the community after upcoming virtual town halls.

IBLC has town halls planned on June 11 and June 25.

The caucus hopes to write legislation requiring statewide use of body and dashboard cameras, harsher punishments for officer-involved shootings, and mental health reviews for officers, among other things.

Asked about the steps proposed by the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, Gov. Holcomb said a meeting has been planned and he appreciated their input.

He said they were able to talk briefly at the Statehouse on Friday but not on anything specific.