INDIANAPOLIS — Mourning family members are asking for answers and change after the city of Indianapolis homicides hit an all-time high in 2020.
They are hosting a peaceful protest Monday morning at the city-county building.
Melissa Jude lost her son in 2020. She says it’s hard to get detectives and elected officials to return phone calls.
The city had 244 homicides in 2020, which was an all-time record. So far in 2021, 3 homicides have been reported.
Back in October of 2020 when the city reached 200 homicides, someone from IMPD shared a statistic with FOX59. They said of the 27 homicide detectives, each carried caseloads of 7 or 8 cases. Some had more, and some had less depending on the shift.
That’s nearly double what each detective should have each year and something Jude says should change.
Her 20-year-old son Chandler Bussey was killed back in June.
“The city needs to find some sort of way to come up with the funds to pay for that because we are losing people at such an alarming rate that these detectives, they can’t even keep up,” said Bussey. “I know my son’s detective when I did see him, he looks completely exhausted.”
In a statement sent to CBS4 ,IMPD said:
IMPD has overcome many challenges this year, most notably the nationwide spike in violence brought to bear on our community. Despite the increased workload, our detectives remain focused on solving each and every homicide. We thank the members of our community who have bravely come forward to help address the root causes of violence in our neighborhoods. We will continue to enhance our collaborations with groups into 2021, so that we may continue to fight on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves.IMPD
Jude says she is connected to dozens of other families suffering through the aftermath of homicides. The protest at the city-county building started around 7 a.m. A few dozen people showed up armed with signs and posters with photos of their loved ones. They had a message that the victims are people and not just homicide numbers.
Rochelle Anderson was one of the people who showed up. Her son was killed in 2018. She says the communication issues have been ongoing and aren’t new with the record high homicide years. She says she just found out the original detective investigating his case retired and no new detective has contacted her.
“Out of this protest I’m hoping that one of us out of the group, two three four, we will get justice for out kids, for our babies. These are our babies. They killed our kids like they was dogs on the street. And I miss my son, I love him. He was dead three years on January, 3rd, yesterday. It was the hardest day of my life,” said Anderson.
IMPD Homicide Detective Mark Howard stopped by to talk to the group as he was going into work.
“It’s just heartbreaking for me. It’s very emotional, cause actually, I haven’t heard that side of the story before. This is the first time that I’ve actually heard from a lot of different families and their questioning of what we do and how we do it, and maybe things do need to be changed,” said Howard.
He says after talking to them he can relay the information to his fellow detectives and they can try to do better about communicating.