City document sheds new light on IMPD Protest Response Review Committee process

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INDIANAPOLIS – A city document provided by Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office sheds new light on the process by which an independent review committee will assess IMPD’s response to protests that escalated into riots at the end of May and beginning of June.

The “IMPD Protest Response Review Committee (RRC) and Review Process” charges the three-member panel with the task of determining the following:

  • Whether any officers engaged in use of force inconsistent with current IMPD policy 
  • Whether any officers engaged in what would be deemed action in violation of policy under model policies in use in other cities 
  • Whether any officers failed to de-escalate a situation such that it escalated to the point where it required use of force permitted under current policy
  • Whether any officers continued use of permissible force beyond the point where current policy would suggest it cease 
  • What aspects of the IMPD response contributed to peaceful interactions, and what aspects appear to have escalated tensions

When asked via email whether the review could look outside IMPD to include other city or county departments that played a role in the public safety response, a spokesperson for Mayor Hogsett said it could.

“The procedural evolution of the review will be determined by the review committee members, not by the City,” said Mayor Hogsett’s Communications Director, Taylor Schaffer. “If it were otherwise, the review would be not be truly independent.”

“Consistent with that, the City will take every reasonable effort to respond to any request for interviews or information from the review committee,” Schaffer continued.

Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police President, Rick Snyder hopes the committee members will go outside the police department when gathering information.

“We look forward to anybody reviewing the actions of our officers, as well as the actions of the violent rioters, but we’re hopeful that it doesn’t stop there,” Snyder said. “We should be delving into the question of what the role was of our political leadership structure, and the direction or lack of direction they were providing to our law enforcement management personnel.”

Language in the document focuses heavily on reviewing IMPD’s actions but does not mention reviewing the roles of other city departments.

According to the document, members of the review committee will have full access to all complaints, videos, evidence, and interviews. Those would include “statements previously provided by any parties, including police and civilians who were participants, witnesses or subjects of police action.”

As part of the review, IMPD “will require police officers to comply with interview process, as in an IMPD internal investigation process.”

The Mayor’s office will also facilitate access to individuals, groups, and resources at the request of the review committee, the document states.

While the RRC will not have its own budget, the city is prepared to respond to requests for resources.

“The City has made clear that if resources are necessary for the committee’s work, the City will work with the committee members to provide them the necessary funding,” Schaffer said. “Currently, no request for allocation of funding has been made.”

Committee members will also be responsible for assembling any private support staff they may need.

Desired outcomes for the RCC are listed as follows:

  • Determination(s) regarding overall police response: what police actions appear to have escalated and de-escalated tensions/violence/civilian resistance
  • Determination as to each specific incident that is the subject of a complaint whether any current policies appear to have been violated
  • Recommendations as to how any of the use of force incidents might have been avoided or de-escalated
  • Recommendations in relation to other associated actions by IMPD officers that may not have been necessary and may contribute to community mistrust
  • Recommendations regarding potential changes in IMPD approach that might help develop a more trusting relationship with the community 

The completed review is expected by the end of the year. Mayor Hogsett’s office has agreed to publish the final report in its entirety with no editorial control by the city.

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