Post-Hearing Comments on IMPD's Budget Presentation at Hearing on 9/13/23

September 18, 2023

**NOTE:  Kristin Berry presented a statement at the hearing for IMPD's Budget Presentation.  Despite her statement to the contrary, this statement was NOT made on behalf of the Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign.  The statement presented by Berry was her statement, alone, and was not prepared or endorsed by this Campaign.  The official Campaign statement follows:

The Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign reiterates its strong opposition to the excessive proposed budget for IMPD of more than $300 million after members of this police force have engaged in police brutality that has harmed and killed so many citizens of Indianapolis - including Herman Whitfield III and three other men this summer.

The people of Indianapolis are struggling and this money is better spent on community care systems, housing, health, food and education to address the many crises in the city.  Each of these areas are severely underfunded when compared to the budget for police and corrections.

IMPD's presentation provided absolutely no justification for the amount of this budget.  Where is the breakdown of IMPD's actual and projected expenses?

Also, there is no explanation for IMPD creating - as if training for a domestic war - the Cop City (or Hershville) "scenario training" neighborhoods - especially at time when the people of Indianapolis are brutalized by members of IMPD and do not have access to the basic necessities for life in their real neighborhoods.  Why does Indianapolis need this Cop City?

Furthermore, we understand, from the Indy Star's reporting, that a "private donor" helped fund Indianapolis' version of Cop City.  Our campaign wants to know more about the private donor.  Who was the private donor who funded Hershville - an individual, a business, a non-profit, foundation, political action committee?

The grieving families of the victims of police brutality and the Indianapolis community has a right to this information and to receive answers to these questions.

Public Comments on IMPD's Proposed Budget for 2024

Authored & Presented by Jake Watkins, Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign on 8/16/2023
Presentation of full statement banned by Council-member at the Indianapolis City-County Council Budget Hearings on 8/16/2023

***NOTE: The Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign showed up at the hearing on IMPD's budget for 2024 to demand justice from the Indianapolis City-County Council for the brutal homicide of Herman III. When the Whitfields and our volunteers arrived, they were singled out and the Marion County Sheriff's Office told them that they could not exercise their 1st Amendment rights.

Unlike another group who attended hearing and brought orange signs attached to sticks to the hearing(s) (photos below), a sheriff BANNED the Whitfields and our volunteers from:

1) Bringing in a photo poster of Herman III (photo below);
2) Bringing in flyers and cards into the City County Building (photo below);
3) Councilmen Brian Mowery and Leroy Robinson repeatedly interrupted one of our campaign volunteers to prevent him for presenting our campaign's full comments on the $300+ million budget for IMPD

There was only one council member, Ethan Evans, who treated our volunteers - citizens - with respect and offered assistance last night and we are grateful to him.

We want the Indianapolis community to know exactly what happens when the community joins together to seek justice even AFTER Indianapolis community members of a grand jury decided to bring criminal indictments against the two police officers who killed Herman Whitfield III.

The campaign's full statement can be read below and video of both the Whitfields' and the campaign's comments during the hearing can be viewed below.  Video of the Marion County Sheriff confronting our volunteers can be viewed HERE***

My name is Jake Watkins, and I’m here in support of the Whitfield family on behalf of the Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign – which began efforts to attain justice and create a safer Indianapolis last summer after 6 IMPD officers brutally killed Herman Whitfield III.

The campaign is here to remind the councilors that, as of 2020, the University of Chicago Law School found that IMPD has one of the worst records for human rights violations in the United States. IMPD officers killed Herman Whitfield III, Gary “Baby Gee” Harrell, Joseph Stiger, Dreasjon Reed, Ashlynn Lisby, McHale Rose, Eleanor Northington, Daniel Cedars, and many others. And, IMPD has inflicted lifelong harm upon Anthony Maclin and Jermaine Vaughn.

Excessive funding for IMPD has NOT decreased the violence in this city. And, minimal police reforms consisting of political and executive appointments, board changes and mandated body-worn cameras have NOT stopped the police brutality and police killings throughout this city. Instead, it appears that there are some IMPD officers who interpret the increased funding and these reluctant reforms as support for their increasingly emboldened, cruel, and unjustified acts of violence against Indianapolis citizens.

Mayor Hogsett and this Council have remained far too silent after the relatives of two public officials have been killed and seriously wounded by IMPD officers.  After IMPD electrocuted and suffocated Herman Whitfield III, an IMPD officer who investigated Herman’s death later shot approximately 30 bullets into Anthony Maclin’s car as he slept.  Hogsett and this Council sat quietly as IMPD released heavily edited and narrated body camera footage that created a false narrative. Meanwhile, several of the IMPD officers involved in this brutality have received awards from the city. And, the city is in court right now, fighting against the release of all of the facts about these recent killings from the public. Mayor Hogsett and IMPD lack the will to hold themselves accountable or provide transparency to the community they are sworn to protect and serve.

These trends will continue as long as this elected body spends more than twice as much on policing and incarceration, as it does on health and housing. The people in this City are struggling – they don’t need more law enforcement, they need better care systems. This Council needs to trim and reallocate funds from IMPD and direct them to housing, food, and health initiatives. And, fund and work with the community members, activists, and attorneys who volunteer with the Justice for Herman Whitfield III campaign to produce proactive and community-developed legislation to diminish both community and police violence.

For these reasons, I ask the City-County Councilors: Will you all join with Congressman Andre Carson, 15 members of the Indiana General Assembly, this campaign, and the Whitfields and other impacted families and publicly support our demands for justice?

Comments by the Whitfields

Comments by Jake Watkins

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