A week after Prosecutor Ryan Mears’ security guards groundlessly accused them of creating a “hostage situation” by asking for a meeting with the prosecutor, a brave coalition of outspoken community members gathered outside the City County Building on November 28. Having been turned away by Mears’ office for 9 weeks straight, the coalition—made up of family members of several men shot by IMPD, community organizer and religious leader, Pastor Denell Howard, and members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation—sought a meeting with Mayor Joe Hogsett.
The goal was to ask the mayor what our elected officials are going to do to get justice for the families of the men murdered by IMPD, and to put forward the demand that IMPD Chief Randal Taylor be fired for his failure to stop the increasing police murders in Indianapolis. Yet again, however, they were treated as a nuisance and given the runaround by those who claim to represent us.
Before even entering the building, a Marion County sheriff attempted to intimidate the group, claiming that they couldn’t be “too close” to the public building because they were holding signs. Asserting their right to exist in public space, the group refused to retreat. Acknowledging that their attempted bullying had failed, the sheriff backed down, and the group stayed in position. Once the group’s final attendees had arrived, they moved into the building to speak with the mayor.
As they entered, yet another sheriff approached the group, this time claiming that they could not bring their paper signs bearing the names of their family members who have been killed by IMPD—Frederick Davis, Gary Harrell, and D’Armon Lamont Graves Jr.—into the building. Of course, this sheriff was in fact mistaken. Stephen Lane, of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, countered the sheriff, stating that he had an email from Chief Administrative Officer Greg Stowers that said signs are protected speech under the First Amendment, and are therefore allowed in the publicly-owned building. The Sheriff conferred with her Lieutenant who affirmed that was correct, and the group was allowed to proceed through security.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department made it clear, however, that the group was unwelcome.
They were assigned an escort to take them to the 25th floor, where the mayor’s office is located. The escort intensified the sense of mistrust, as if simply wanting to request a meeting with an elected official was a criminal act, or something to be suspicious of. When the group exited the elevator, there were two sheriffs watching them from the other side of the elevators, and there were two more outside of the Mayor’s office. One was seated at a desk while the other was standing with his hand on his holster.
Pastor Howard spoke for the coalition, and told the seated sheriff that they were there to meet with the mayor. The sheriff responded that they needed an appointment, and passed him a sheet of paper with information on how to make an appointment with Mayor Hogsett. This apparently can only be done online, through the indy.gov website. The website does not make it clear that citizens can request a meeting this way, almost as if they don’t want to publicize that ability. The best option for the public is the Request the Mayor at Your Event form.
Pastor Howard pressed the issue.
“So is he (the mayor) here right now? Can you tell him we’re here to meet with him?”
“I don’t think he’s here,” was the dismissive response.
“Well, can you check to see if someone is here who can meet with us today?”
The sheriff sighed and made a show of pulling up another sheet of paper, presumably containing phone numbers. A few minutes later, a representative from the mayor’s office emerged. Without introducing herself, she told the group that she works on behalf of the mayor.
“What’s the mayor’s position right now on these police action shootings and murders? Do you know?” asked Pastor Howard.
“So, I am not really in a position to make a statement right now,” the unnamed representative answered. “If you have questions or a letter you would like to submit, I can give that to the mayor.”
The unidentified representative went on to confirm that the mayor wasn’t in the office, and expressed that she wanted to “listen to your questions or concerns, and work on next steps.”
Hogsett is no “win” for Black community
An Indianapolis Recorder opinion piece by Marshawn Wolley labeled Hogsett’s re-election as a win for the Black community, yet, the families of victims of IMPD terror, who are Black, don’t see his re-election as a win for them. The group attempted to meet with the mayor to ask questions about getting justice for the families and calling for the IMPD Chief Randal Taylor to be fired and yet faced many obstacles to get to the mayor’s office only to be turned away to submit a form online. Yet, the website does not clearly state that citizens can request a meeting with the mayor. According to the Polis Center, 21% of Black residents and 15% of Latino residents are without access to the internet in their homes effectively creating a barrier of access to the mayor for over 100,000 people.
The coalition will be returning next Tuesday, December 5 at noon to meet with the mayor. They ask that everyone and anyone concerned with the increase in violence from IMPD against Black community members put in a request to meet with Mayor Hogsett using this form and join the coalition in the upcoming meeting. You can use the following information to complete the form:
Request the Mayor at Your Event
Name of event: Meeting with the Mayor on IMPD shootings of citizens
Date of event: Tuesday, December 5 at noon
What is the purpose of the event? There have been 16 shootings in 2023. What is the mayor going to do to stop the killings in 2024? Will the mayor fire the ineffective Chief Randal Taylor?
Who else is invited? Concerned community members and families of IMPD killings.
How many people are expected to attend? 10 – 50
Will the media be in attendance? Yes No
If the mayor is seated, who else will be at the table? (optional)
What is the attire? Casual
If the mayor is unavailable, is an alternate acceptable? Yes No
Venue or location name: Mayor’s office
Address: 200 E Washington St, 25th floor
Address 2 (optional)
What time does the event begin? 12:00PM
What time will the event end? 1:00PM
What time would you like the mayor to arrive? 12:00PM
Please provide the agenda and all pertinent times
12PM – introductions, 12:05PM – Q&A on police violence, 12:30PM – solutions, 12:55PM – next steps and follow up meeting
Will the mayor have a speaking role? Yes No
Sponsor organization: Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality
Type of organization: Political organization made up of Indy’s poor and oppressed.
Sponsor or event website
Recent organization accomplishments
Organizer name: Party for Socialism and Liberation
Emergency contact phone (cell # during event): 317-721-3789
Confirm email address: email@example.com
Form Completed By
Please select one None Mr. Mrs. Ms. Miss Dr. Councillor Rev.
Confirm email address