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IMPD employee suspended, city employee reprimanded over Facebook comments directed at Ten Point

Majors and Meriweather.JPG
Posted at 9:31 AM, May 10, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Two city employees hired to help with violence reduction in the city of Indianapolis are in hot water over comments made on social media that were directed at the Indy Ten Point Coalition.

The comments by Greg Meriweather, Community Strategic Initiatives Liason for IMPD, and Shonna Majors, Director of Community Violence Reduction, were made on a Facebook Live post and reportedly referenced the Indy Ten Point Coalition.

Although the city did not share the comments made, Rev. Charles Harrison shared a screenshot of the supposed comments which included one by Meriweather that said, "Ten Point is out walking the track like good hoes do." And one by Majors that said, "$$$."

"While the full context is unclear in the screenshots, we do know that these comments, made through personal, non-official Facebook accounts, do not reflect the views of the Mayor, the Office of Public Health and Safety, or IMPD," a spokesperson for the city said in a press release issued Friday morning. "It takes an entire community to create safe neighborhood, and the City of Indianapolis is committed to working with all residents, civic leaders, and grassroots organizations engaged in efforts that seek to reduce violence."

Chief Bryan Roach met with Meriweather on Thursday to discuss the post, "expressing in no uncertain terms that the comment was unacceptable, as the personal social media accounts of any employee of the IMPD - sworn or civilian - can be a reflection of the department," the release said.

Meriweather was suspended for three days without pay and Roach plans to reach out to Harrison "with the hope that the three of them can sit down and build a stronger partnership between IMPD and Ten Point moving forward."

Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke with Majors on Thursday and "expressed his profound disappointment in her actions," the release said.

"While she was using the social media account in her personal capacity, what she says may be interpreted as speaking on behalf of the administration and Mayor Hogsett made clear to Shonna that she needs to keep that in mind in any future social media postings."

Majors received a formal warning from her supervisor and will not be participating in the OPHS grant process for this cycle, the city said.

Harrison and the Ten Point Coalition issued the following statement in reference to the comments, "The Ten Point Coalition is deeply disturbed at the actions attributed to two employees of the Hogsett administration. City officials should be working with community groups to stem the tide of crime and violence, not tearing them down on social media. It is our hope that the city and IMPD will hold these individuals accountable and we can move forward. We need to bury our differences instead of burying our fellow citizens."

The rest of the statement from the City of Indianapolis can be read below.

"Throughout the last three years, Mayor Hogsett and city officials have prioritized the impartial distribution of funding to grassroots organizations, including the utilization of third party entities with expertise in criminal justice issues and the administration of grant funding to ensure the process is data-driven and standards are applied equally to all applying organizations.

As has been true over multiple administrations, the Community Crime Prevention Grants are awarded by the Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF agency. While this funding is appropriated by the city-county council, and public safety priorities are set by public safety agencies, no city employee is made aware of the award recipients until the process is fully completed.

As for the more recently created Violence Prevention Grants distributed by the Office of Public Health and Safety, this process utilizes an academic approach, with IUPUI staff engaged to rate and review each application, helping to ensure the impartial distribution of funds. After site visits are conducted, the director of the Office of Public Health and Safety has final sign-off on the grant recipients as recommended by IUPUI."