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Local forum focuses on ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’

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INDIANAPOLIS, In  (August 24th, 2014) — The ripple effects of Michael Brown’s death and the subsequent community response in Ferguson, Missouri, have been felt and talked about in Indianapolis and left the seat of one city county councilman very hot.

The Kheprw Institute held a forum Sunday based on the catchphrase, “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot,” which has come to symbolize the reaction of the St. Louis suburb after the unarmed teenager was shot to death by a police officer.

“People feel like they’re disenfranchised not just with their life but just with their voice,” said Wise, one of the Kheprw forum organizers. “‘I have something to say. I have a solution. I would like to be on the front lines for what it is that we think this community could be.’

“Communities such as Ferguson are looking to find out what is it that we can do so we don’t have to feel like we’re targets everyday. A lot of these black men and and just black people wake up and they feel like they’re targets. ‘Why am I a target? I want the same opportunities and the same advantages that people who may not be my culture may have.'”

Next month the Ten Point Coalition has been invited to Ferguson to share its expertise of communication and street outreach with the faith-based community.

“What they are asking Ten Point to do is come and do training on community policing and also street engagement and how do they handle a large crowd like that where they have more of a leading role and the police have more of a role in the background,” said Rev. Charles Harrison. “You have to have a good relationship with the police department because you have to work hand-in-hand and one of the things that they’re going to have to do is address all of their concerns that they have with the police.”

Metro police officers are unhappy with a City-County councilman who aligned himself with the Ferguson community during last Monday night’s council meeting.

At-large Councilor Leroy Robinson and four other council Democrats displayed placards at their desks that read, “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot.”

Since that time, Robinson and several IMPD officers have exchanged emails regarding the placard.

“I’m very disappointed in you,” wrote one. “It was a classless move,” observed another. “Your character…showed in your sign,” an officer emailed. “I was amazed at the ignorance displayed,” an officer wrote. “You have condemned the (Ferguson) officer and joined the mob,” wrote another.

Robinson responded that to imply his placard showed disrespect for IMPD, “This is the furthest from the truth.” He explained, “One decision…should not and does not define who I am,” and, “I stand by my statement and I would never allow you or anyone else to define me…based on a sign that hung in front of my name-plate at a public meeting.”

Robinson’s seat. which does not represent a defined district, will be eliminated by redistricting and the councilman received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police in the past.