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Hogsett: "Serious concerns" about police use of force during weekend protests

Videos will be examined
Posted at 3:15 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 17:53:36-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says he has "serious concerns" about the police department's use of force during the weekend protests downtown.

Hogsett, and police officials, spoke at a Monday news conference following three days of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

Hogsett said videos of specific incidents involving police and protesters will be reviewed. "We have an obligation to examine and render judgment on the conduct of our police officers each and every time that force is used by an individual who has sworn his service to the public protection," Hogsett said. "I have serious concerns about some of the interactions between our officers and protesters from this weekend."

"We have been made aware of several videos from the past weekend and we are looking into each incident to insure the actions taken are in compliance with IMPD's policies and procedures," said Police Chief Randal Taylor. "One of these videos shows force being used during an arrest of several individuals.

Taylor also said he would not question Monday's decision by Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears not to file charges against 41 non-violent protesters who were arrested by police. Taylor said those arrests were "valid," but it was up to Mears to decide on charges.

Hogsett said the city's new Use of Force Review Board is designed to look at non-fatal incidents such as those over the weekend to decide if police officers followed proper procedures. The mayor said that board will have "significant civilian participation."

Hogsett also defended the city's decision not to impose a downtown curfew Saturday night. The mayor said it appeared a curfew would not be necessary. Instead, things got out of hand quickly with looting.

The city will be under an overnight curfew starting at 8 p.m. Monday, as it was Sunday night.

Deputy IMPD Chief Joshua Barker said the department did not lose control of the situation Saturday night. "There was a time when officers were scrambling to assess the situation in a very rapid manner and it looked like there was some disorganization on our part," said Baker. "However, there was clear communication with Command Center and we were redeploying those resources as rapidly as possible."

Chief Taylor said he has issued an apology to a local religious group that was involved in a peaceful demonstration on Monument Circle Sunday. Members of the group had to flee the area when tear gas was blown their way. Taylor said officers used the gas as they tried to arrest a person who was defacing the Soldiers and Sailors Monument with spray paint.

Watch the full video of the press conference below.