ICYMI: The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) passes Indiana House Bill 1006, which mandates de-escalation trainings, bans chokeholds tactics, and holds officers accountable for misusing body cameras
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today issued the following statement from State Senator Eddie Melton in response to the verdict handed in the Derek Chauvin Trial. This trial has captured the focus of the entire nation after George Floyd died on May 25, 2020 at the hands of police brutality. Floyd’s death launched last year’s movement by the Black Lives Matter organization and its supporters and promoted the action by elected leaders like the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) to help start the process to end systemic racism across Indiana:
“The murder of George Floyd was a shameful tragedy that the entire world witnessed. Many of us were left heartbroken in the days, weeks, and months following Mr. Floyd’s death because video evidence made it clear that it was unreasonable to use lethal force, and in the process, we lost another Black American way too soon. Thankfully, the jury reached the right decision and justice will be served. It is my hope now that a proper sentence is given that fits the crime committed and our entire country can use this case to transform the relationship and trust between people of color and the police.
While the trial against Derek Chauvin was put on spotlight this month, it does not address or solve the ongoing injustices and problems too many Black men face on a daily occurrence across Indiana. Black men like myself in cities like Gary and Indianapolis are still to this day subjected to a culture where police misconduct against the Black community is never-ending and is on every screen and media space. We are simply unable to remove ourselves from a system that was never created to treat us fairly or justly. Police brutality against Black Hoosiers has always been prevalent in American culture, it’s just that the introduction of body cameras and smartphones finally exposed injustices in real time to millions across the country.
The death of George Floyd finally prompted an intense debate in big cities, small towns, and in suburbs across Indiana, and many Hoosiers joined the rest of the nation in a call to address a systemic problem we face as a nation. The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus responded to this demand for accountability by working in a bipartisan manner to deliver House Bill 1006 this legislative session. Among several things, this new law bans chokeholds in most circumstances, invests in de-escalation training, and penalizes law enforcement for misusing body cameras during work hours. I am happy we were able to leave this session knowing we got this important legislation on the books, but House Bill 1006 only scratches the surface and there’s still more work to do to address sentencing, prison, and other criminal justice reforms that are needed to bring full equity in our state.
As long as I share a platform and an opportunity to do so, the Senate Democratic Caucus and I will work tirelessly to bridge this gap and put an end to the injustices too many Black Hoosiers have faced throughout our lives. But in order to make this lasting chance, accountability for law enforcement and state elected leaders must be at the forefront of this discussion. Systemic racism will only end in Indiana if leaders present a transparent process and solution to the public and lawmakers hold themselves to a higher standard that matches the values of our country, not the current political landscape. And lastly, I pray for the family of George Floyd and hope they received the closure they deserve.”