The debate about police misconduct and police brutality in Indianapolis and the specter of police cover-ups have dominated the civic conversation for most of the summer, says the Indianapolis Star. Yesterday, the controversy swirling around the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department showed no signs of letting up. “In coffee shops and on front porches in just the last five days, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a place I’ve walked into or conversations I’ve had where it hasn’t been a part of the conversation,” said the Rev. Mike Mather, pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church.
The reasons for the chatter are growing: the bruised face of Brandon Johnson, a biracial youth beaten by police during an arrest; officer David Bisard’s crash into a bank of motorcyclists that killed one rider and critically injured two others; the botched blood test that forced felony DUI charges against Bisard to be dropped; and an officer’s attempt to cover up his own hit-and-run accident. Even an announcement that a new leader for the police department’s East District had been named prompted more concern because of his role in a 1990 shooting. Six clergymen walked into Mayor Greg Ballard’s office to talk to him about the chaos in the Police Department and bigger systemic problems they say have plagued city policing for years. “It was a very open conversation where the mayor allowed us to express our interests,” said North United Methodist Church pastor Kevin Armstrong. “I would say it was a candid conversation that had both frustrations and possible solutions.”