The law is not on our side, so we’re fighting on Taylor Bey’s!

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In 2018, an elderly Black worker, a grandfather who just finished a shift of one of two jobs gardening, eats dinner at a hospital cafeteria on the way home from work. It’s a July day and he’s been working outside for hours. When he’s done with his meal he closes his eyes for a bit to relax. That’s when two Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies aggressively approach him, asking if he is on the hospital’s “no trespassing” list, to which he calmly replies “no.” He tries to rest again, but is soon after approached by another deputy who demands to see his identification. As he gets up from the table to reach for his wallet, another deputy tackles Bey from behind, throwing him across the floor. The cops handcuff him to a wheelchair, leave the dining area, and, as one cop pulls his arm back, another repeatedly kicks him in the stomach.

This is just the beginning of Taylor Bey’s story, one told to the public for the first time at a December 21, 2023 press conference, over five years later. Almost four of those years were spent in court proceedings fighting the charges of Resisting Law Enforcement (a class A misdemeanor) and Disorderly Conduct (a class B misdemeanor). Mr. Bey happened to garden for a lawyer who, upon hearing his story, was outraged at both the attack and the charges. Unable to represent Mr. Bey because of a conflict of interest, his partner, Dean Knapp, took up the case. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until February 15, 2022 that the Prosecuting Attorney, Cody Coldren, filed a motion for the Marion County Court to dismiss the two charges on the grounds of “good defense.” In other words, the Prosecutor had no case and the Sheriff’s deputies lied.

The original probable cause affidavit the arresting officer, officer Kalyuzhny, submitted states they also arrested Bey for trespassing, something for which he was never charged. The document also states he was arrested at 4:00 am, a minor lie compared to the overall narrative constructed, in which a “Black male” became “hostile” and “aggressive” after they asked if he was on the “no trespassing list.” When this “Black male” started to stand up, these deputies were so threatened that they had to restrain Bey and beat him (the latter of which is absent from the document). One wonders what kind of physical shape deputies Kalyuzhny, Dimitry, and Luther were in that they were so threatened by this grandfather.

The affidavit says officers Kalyuzhny and Luther “discovered a pair of scissors in his back rear pocket” in its second to last sentence, as if a gardener carrying a tool that remained in place and was only discovered there afterwards justified Bey’s arrest and their assault on him.

Bey: “Don’t’ give up… you’ve got to keep fighting”

Bey’s name was cleared. He was vindicated. But he endured years of suffering, and the deputies responsible are still out on the streets. His longtime doctor at Mapleton Center for Health, Fitness, and Nutrition, Dr. Debra A. Carter-Miller, stated on June 16, 2021, that in her official opinion, because of the use of restrictive devices placed on his wrists in 2018, he “suffered permanent nerve damage, ie, neuropathy” that “he still suffers pain from this encounter, should avoid restrictive devices placed around his wrist.”

For four years, he endured the suffering of this legal process, went to numerous medical appointments, lost wages, and spent money he didn’t have to keep living and pay legal fees. He continues to suffer from the lack of employment opportunities, housing security, and more. But worst of all, he can’t play with his grandchildren like he did before July 6, 2018.

Bey searched for over a year for someone to take up his case. No one would. Then, while watching the news on October 28, he saw a protest organized by a member-organization of the Indianapolis Liberation Center. Two volunteers with the Center met with him days later and, since that time, we have been supporting and fighting by his side.

Bey’s main objectives are to shine a spotlight on this routine behavior of the law to help put an end to it and to let others know they aren’t alone either. “They keep us divided and afraid; they want us to keep our heads down like the ‘good old days,’ but we’re not doing that,” Bey said. At the conference, he urged others to keep on struggling.

The Indianapolis Liberation Center will continue to fight alongside Bey and all victims of state repression in this city. It won’t be a short fight, but Bey is now part of a coalition of the families of IMPD victims like Gary Harrell and Frederick Davis, religious and community leaders, and political organizations. The collective organizing of the coalition will sustain the movement and fuel our struggle.

The Liberation Center will do everything we can to ensure this coalition keeps growing. Further empowering this movement is the only way to ensure that the state violence and terror plaguing our communities will not only stop growing, but will cease altogether. That is what justice looks like.

We are honored to know Bey and to fight by his side. We are asking you to sign up and join Bey, and all victims, killed and still living, of racist police brutality.