INDIANAPOLIS— U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a visit to Indianapolis to meet with members of a group known for its campaigns to stem violence in crime-plagued neighborhoods.
Sessions, who is the nation's chief law enforcement officer, accepted Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill's invitation to meet Monday afternoon with members of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition.
That anti-violence group led by several African-American ministers is known for its neighborhood patrols and its work teaching youths and ex-offenders about conflict resolution.
"I'm really impressed with what the coalition has accomplished," Sessions said. "And I believe it can be a model for cities around America."
Sessions announced the Department of Justice would create a new committee, specifically charged with better organizing groups like the Ten Point Coalition in an effort to fight crime locally.
"Those are amazing results," Sessions said. "You can't expect to see that around the country everywhere, but it's particularly noteworthy. It almost never happens."
Sessions, citing Justice Department data, said the homicide rate in Indianapolis has increased more than 50 percent since 2012 and roughly 40 percent statewide.
Rev. Charles Harrison, the leader of the Indy Ten Point Coalition, said he plans to visit with Justice Department officials in Washington during the next month.
Sessions fell short of promising any federal funds to assist.
"No we didn't talk about any money," Harrison said. "We talked about further conversations about how we might replicate this model nationwide."
Vice President Mike Pence said in August that the group's model of violence reduction should be replicated across urban areas in the U.S.
Earlier in the day about a dozen other Indianapolis clergy and civil rights leaders united condemning the visit. They released the following statement about his visit: “Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”
"I’m appalled, I’m disturbed, about the attorney general coming to our city, I do not believe we ought to welcome him, he’s a racist, he’s a liar, and above all, I do not believe that a black church ought to host a racist," said Melvin Girton, Christ Missionary Baptist Church.