Community leaders say Baltimore riots have impact on Indianapolis community

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 28, 2015) - Community leaders say the Baltimore riots,  caused by the death of Freddie Gray, could happen in Indianapolis.

"You better believe what happened in Baltimore is on the minds of our young people in this city," said Reverend Charles Harrison.

While extreme looting, fires, rioting, and violence has not broken out in Indy in years, Harrison said there's a chance it could.

“We are one incident away from this possibly happening in our city and if we don’t address the root causes that is leading to the hopelessness and the anger and the despair, particularly, what he young black males out there are experiencing and feeling, that could happen to this city, too," Harrison said.

He said it's important to send a message to young people that rioting is not an answer for justice. He said Indianapolis would handle a similar situation very differently than Baltimore or even Ferguson. He said it's because of the resources available for families directly on scene, preventing emotions from getting too high.

"I think because there’s groups like 10 Point and other community groups that are there on the scene with the police helping to resolve the conflict, the concerns, right there on the scene, I think that has helped," Harrison said.

Transparency between IMPD and the community is an important step in ensuring riots don't happen here. Harrison said during times of police action shootings or when suspects have died in custody, IMPD has provided information in a timely manner.

If a situation like what's happening in Baltimore were to play out on the streets of the Circle City, IMPD and Homeland Security have a plan in place.

"We’ve got a mobile field force of 350 officers strong that have training and crowd management and beyond that, we have an event response group with 125 officers that have had substantial training in crowd management," explained Commander Ted Fries.

Commander Fries said they've been keeping a close eye on the situation and monitoring social media. He said the threat of retaliation against police officers is on a national level and right now there's no real threat.

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