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Faith leaders discuss Indy mayor's response to plea for police reform

Posted at 12:11 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 19:00:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — An emotional plea from faith leaders across the city, calling for changes to law enforcement policies in Indianapolis.

The group, Faith in Indiana, met with the mayor's office on Thursday to discuss their agenda.

Members of the group said the meeting is a step in the right direction and are encouraged, however, they said there is still more work that needs to be done.

"I'm here to announce there is action taking place in regards to the seven demands that were presented to our mayor right here on Sunday," Richard Reynolds, pastor of New Revelation Christian Church, said.

Seven demands — a list of seven specific action items faith leaders said the city needs to implement as they call for greater police accountability.

"This is our opportunity to recognize the error in the system that we have been living under," Darian Bouie, pastor of Progressive Baptist Church, said.

On Sunday, hundreds of people participated in a peaceful demonstration with religious leaders. They called on Mayor Joe Hogsett to do things like look at existing use of force and discipline policies, require independent investigations when police use force and get body cameras on every officer.

On Thursday, religious leaders said progress was made. They said the mayor's office vowed to have a new draft of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's use of force policy within 24 hours. They said they were told body camera implementation will begin in August. Discussions between the faith community and local leaders will continue with plans to meet again in two weeks.

"We are encouraged," Dr. Clyde Posley, senior pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, said. "It tells us that the mayor is listening to us, is interested in what we have to say and we have no reason to believe that he is not going to follow through with the intentions that came from that meeting."

Some leaders said the most important thing right now is just having their voices heard.

"If there is one thing that we are looking for it is a more consistent right to be at the table when the decisions are made that affect our culture," Posley said.

The mayor was not at the press conference with faith leaders on Thursday.

The mayor's office issued a brief statement Thursday evening:

It is true that mayor's office leadership met with Faith in Indiana this morning to discuss ongoing efforts to address community concerns regarding public safety and criminal justice. As we told them this morning, we will have more information to share tomorrow.

You can watch the full press conference below.