IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams said he received the response he was looking for after a tweet on his department account following the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, last weekend.
13 people were shot, ten were killed, after a teenager opened fire in a grocery store.
The teen wrote a manifesto and made social media posts referring to so-called replacement theory that postulates America’s Caucasian race will be replaced by a community of persons of color.
Investigators termed the killings a hate crime.
Adams tweeted that to reduce gun violence in Indianapolis and across the country, lawmakers should enact bipartisan gun regulations, invest more in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to enhance gun law enforcement and social media platforms should crack down on hate speech.
“Social media companies are private entities. That have the ability to regulate what they define as hate and what they will allow to be spread on their platforms,” said Adams. “Let’s have a universal definition on what hate is and where we see that, let’s not allow that to spread on our platforms.”
Protest is a form of protected speech in the United States, leading the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana to caution as to what the definition of hate speech should be.
“The concept of hate speech is ambiguous,” said Jane Henegar. “It’s a flexible idea and certainly what one person’s idea of what might be hate speech might be different from another’s and might be different from what government considers hate speech.
“That’s something that society needs to respond to and take seriously, but there is a big difference from government action and private action on these private platforms.”
Adams said the General Assembly’s decision to scrap Indiana’s gun permit law as of July 1 has left IMPD commanders scrambling to explain to street officers how to determine if a gun is illegally possessed.
“We’ll have to see how this law impacts gun crime. I know in a recent study I looked at in the states that have instituted permitless carry, we saw homicides go up, we saw officer involved shootings go up, we saw police interaction with community in a negative way go up,” he said. “I hope that our legislators will look at the law after six months or a year and say, ‘Did it have a negative consequence or did it have a negative outcome based on the law?’”
Adams also said that while federal agents could benefit from more spending and more resources, enhanced cooperation with the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force is assisting in the fight against gun violence.
“We need to expand correlation centers so that they’re in more cities so that you can compare ballistics, so you can identify traffickers of firearms from states like Indiana and other states.”