Indiana gubernatorial candidates weigh in on recent police shootings, use of body cameras

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INDIANAPOLIS – In wake of the recent police shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, the three candidates looking to be Indiana’s next governor are weighing in.

The Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and Radio One hosted a forum Sunday afternoon.

A day earlier, a group of Black Lives Matter protesters marched through downtown Indianapolis, calling for more transparency.

Republican Eric Holcomb, Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rex Bell were asked how they would respond, specifically to comments made by sitting Gov. Mike Pence while on the campaign trail for the presidential election.

“There has been far too much talk of this institutional bias or racism within law enforcement,” Pence said last week in Colorado.

A panelist asked the three candidates whether they agree.

“Everyone’s voice has to be valued in this conversation in every way imaginable,” Holcomb said. “We’ll do that from a law enforcement perspective, but it’s gonna take folks on the street, not up in the suites, but folks on the street.”

“Let me state unequivocally that black lives matter,” Gregg said. “I want to reiterate my opposition to racial profiling as well as to stop and frisk policies. They’re proven not to work.”

“We know the black community is affected the most by it,” Bell said. “We need to make sure somebody who is afraid of someone because they simply look different, they shouldn’t be carrying a badge and carrying a gun to enforce those laws.”

On Saturday, under growing pressure Charlotte police released body and dash-cam video of last week’s fatal shooting.

The candidates were asked their thoughts on whether the public should have access to that video.

“Very simply I would say yes to that,” Bell said.

“We have seen cases where the body cameras have exonerated a police officer and we have seen times when they have not,” Gregg said. “It doesn’t do any good for us to have body cameras unless there’s some type of policy pertaining to the images they capture.”

“Yes, body cameras can play a very vital role,” Holcomb said. “And if footage is captured, it should be shared with the public.”

Three official debates, organized by the Indiana Debate Commission, are scheduled before the election.

The first will be hosted Tuesday at Lawrence North High School and focus on education. High school students, teachers and administrators have been invited.

The remaining two debates will take place Oct. 3 and 25.

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