INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb expressed his support for the weekend's peaceful protests in Indiana, while also decrying the violence that came in some cities, including Indianapolis.
“All Hoosiers should know – peacefully protesting and demonstrating for this cause is a noble one, rightly protected by our First Amendment.” Holcomb said. “Make no mistake about it, no citizen has a right to destroy, vandalize or threaten another Hoosier’s safety or property.”
When asked what he would do going forward to support positive change in the wake of the protests and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Holcomb mentioned giving people more access and knowledge to the tools available, such as the Department of Education or the Department of Health.
“These are things we’re going to have to be very clear about in our agenda,” he said. “Not just to reach out. Not just to sit around a table with more talk or town halls, but say, ‘Can we have your help on this front, or this initiative?’”
He mentioned his push this year to get more accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace, a proposal that was in his 2020 legislative agenda, but didn’t become law. Experts say problems with infant and maternal mortality disproportionally affect people of color.
“I would ask the African-American community … to join me to be outspoken with me should I get the opportunity to get that across the finish line, because I’m coming back on that,” Holcomb said.
He also touted the hate crime law passed in Indiana in 2019, but there is still debate on its merit. The Anti-Defamation League, one of the country’s leading anti-hate groups, does not consider what Indiana passed to be a hate crime law because “it could encompass virtually any crime targeting a person for virtually any reason.”
Indiana’s new law was passed despite criticism from Democrats over the fact that it does not explicitly cover age, sex or gender identity. Instead, the law refers to Indiana's reporting statute that mentions color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion and sexual orientation. But the law’s supporters said it covers everybody, even if their characteristic isn’t explicitly listed.
In Monday’s press conference, Holcomb also denounced the vandalism on many of Indianapolis’ historical monuments.
“It’s just unconscionable to me that someone would threaten someone else’s life, and/or go to these monuments that were referred to that represent men and women that gave their lives so people would have that First Amendment right to assemble peacefully, to speak peacefully in an attempt to make progress,” Holcomb said. “Folks who are seeking to destroy that service and their memories are not in this to peacefully protest.”
Watch Holcomb's full presser below: