Elected leaders fed up with violence in Indy make major move toward criminal justice system solutions

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Where is the outrage? You’ve seen and heard that frustration from Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder and Indianapolis TenPont Coalition President Rev. Charles Harrison right here on CBS4 several times since September as he demanded solutions to fight violence.

On Friday, the first major response from our city's elected officials came as Republican Minority Leader Brian Mowery announced plans for a co-sponsored, bi-partisan commission to create a study that will help the commission understand the ins and outs of the criminal justice system here.

"For far too long it's been an issue that we have not talked about enough," Mowery said. "And, this is what the commission really wants to do is to start that conversation, see where we can really improve."

Mowery said the commission will be made up of 15 people. That group will consist of people within the criminal justice system, educators and community members.

"This is an Indianapolis issue and we've got to do what's best for our city," Mowery said.

Snyder praised Mayor Joe Hogsett for the work he has done and said this support will help move the city forward as it tackles its violence issue.

"We applaud this mayor," Snyder said. "He's doing everything he can do. He's hired more officers than have ever been hired. We've got more officers on the department than we've ever had.  He's ensured that our officers have good safety equipment."

Snyder and Harrison first called community leaders to take action in September after several people were shot in downtown Indianapolis. Since then, he has met with President Donald Trump, US Attorney Josh Minkler is on board and the pair has met with Governor Eric Holcomb. Now, the city council's republican caucus is on board.

Snyder also said our stories caused action too. He referred to Brittany Luster's case. She was almost killed by her then-boyfriend Keenan McCain in August 2019.

"I could have died," Luster told CBS4. "I probably should have died that day."

McCain had active warrants for a slew of charges - strangulation, drugs and having an illegal gun. Records show he was on a pre-trial release and never showed up for court. Gary Police were forced to kill him after he shot and wounded officers on Monday.

Luster is left to try to heal from the abuse she said he caused.

"You think about it every day," Luster said.

The numbers of cases where violent offenders are allowed back on the streets are staggering.

"We have now seen over 183 shot or stabbed in our city, just in two and a half months," Snyder said.

We covered the 2019 numbers: 524 people shot but survived, 171 people killed. CBS4 continues giving victims a voice.

"You have stayed on this topic, you've shared the stories," Snyder said. "You've shared the personal impact, especially from the point of view of the victims in our community, which is vitally important."

Finally, local elected leaders are coming to the table to propose a commission to turn the tide of violence.

"This is not a partisan issue by any means," Mowery said.

City-County Council President Vop Osili sent us a statement regarding news of the proposal:

"Public Safety is, and has been, the first priority of this Council during my time as President. Combined, our Public Safety Services and Criminal Justice Services alone account for 60% of our overall city-county budget. As with any proposal, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this issue with my colleagues. I am certain that under the leadership of Chairman Robinson the Council's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee will give this proposal fair consideration.”

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