INDIANAPOLIS – Two Indianapolis city employees have been reprimanded following comments made on social media.
Late Thursday night, a city spokesperson confirmed Gregory Meriweather, the Strategic Initiative Liaison for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, was suspended for three days. Meanwhile, Shonna Majors, the city’s Director of Community Violence Reduction, received a formal warning and will no longer participate in this year’s cycle for awarding grant dollars for local crime prevention organizations.
Earlier Thursday, Reverend Charles Harrison with Indy Ten Point Coalition called out the two officials on social media for comments he says show a negative bias towards his organization.
One comment, from Meriweather said, “ten point is out walking the track like good hoes do.” On the same post, Majors commented with three dollar signs.
Harrison says Majors’ post was concerning, because she oversaw the handing out of grant money for crime prevention organizations.
“The city cannot take sides, it has to be supportive of all of the groups that are out here trying to do something about the violence,” Harrison said.
A city spokesperson issued the following statement regarding the decisions:
“Mayor Hogsett spoke with Shonna Majors this morning and expressed his profound disappointment in her actions. 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. Additionally, she has received a formal warning from her supervisor and will not participate in the OPHS grant process this cycle.
Mayor Hogsett asked that Shonna reach out to Rev. Harrison directly to address the issue and offer her strongest apology.
Chief Roach met with Greg Meriweather this evening to have a similar conversation, 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 on the department. Greg is being suspended for three days without pay, and the Chief plans to reach out to Rev. Harrison with the hope that the three of them can sit down and build a stronger partnership between IMPD and Ten Point moving forward.”
Harrison also released a statement:
"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."
Friday, CBS4 spoke with Mayor Joe Hogsett and mayoral candidate and current Indiana State Senator Jim Merritt. Both say they are disappointed, but for different reasons.
Merritt held a press conference to address the issue in the area that Indy Ten Point visits frequently.
“After these awful and mean-spirited comments were made about people who try to protect our city, the mayor's action was to allow them to keep their jobs with a slap on the wrist," said Merritt. “Are we safer than we were three years ago? When I’m elected mayor, I will convene all organizations that can help I will embrace IMPD.”
Merritt also announced that his first executive order if he were to be elected mayor would be to appoint a deputy mayor for public safety. He says the individual would "wake up every day to make sure our city is safer than the day before."
Mayor Hogsett said he's disappointed profoundly about the comments made.
“I’ve asked the people, the city employees involved they’ve both been disciplined," said Hogsett. "I’m pleased to hear Shonna Majors has reached out to Reverend Harrison and offered her apology and I think the two of them are going to be getting together.”
Hogsett added, “I think the most disappointing aspect of this back and forth is that it takes us off the real issue and that is how do we work together to keep our streets peaceful and our neighborhood safer. The sooner we can get back to that, the better off we’re going to be.”