INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County Sheriff John Layton told Fox 59 News that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has asked his department for 50 sheriff’s deputies to walk foot patrols downtown during the upcoming Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration.
This marks the third year in a row that IMPD has sought help from the sheriff’s department in controlling the crowds that swell downtown.
The request from Police Chief Rick Hite comes less than a week after a 16-year-old boy was shot to death in the shadow of Circle Centre.
Pastor Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition told Fox 59 News that he feared the Summer Celebration would become a battleground this summer for youth intent on settling scores.
“We’re hearing stuff on the streets. We’re seeing stuff on the internet, particularly Facebook,” Harrison told Fox 59. “We’re very concerned. I haven’t been this concerned, I don’t think, ever since I started doing Indiana Black Expo. We’re very concerned because, like I said, there’s a lot of anger out there.”
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said he would be reviewing the IMPD Summer Celebration plan in the wake of the Fourth of July shooting of Monquize Edwards.
On Monday. an acquaintance of Edwards’, James Johnson, 16, was shot to death at Hawthorne Place Apartments.
Family members told outreach workers of the Ten Point Coalition that Johnson may have known the identity of Edwards’ killer. IMPD homicide detectives have not yet determined a link between the two killings.
Earlier this week, Sheriff Layton said he was waiting for a request from IMPD to lend assistance during the IBE celebration.
“It’s my responsibility to keep the people of Marion County safe and I watch what progresses…but at some point, you know, who knows, but right now I’m trying to get the phone to ring,” Layton said.
Layton said now that Hite has called, he is open to other cooperative agreements with IMPD, which announced earlier this week the reshuffling of the assignments of more than 100 officers in an attempt to respond to calls for assistance faster.