INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The site where three people were stabbed and their alleged attacker injured downtown Saturday afternoon was on a patch of ground owned by the State of Indiana but protected by IMPD, because Capitol Police are too few to patrol the area.
Gary Madison, 57, faces three charges of battery with a deadly weapon after the attacks which left blood on the steps of the Central Library across East St. Clair Street from the American Legion Mall.
The Mall is a greenspace from North Meridian to North Pennsylvania Streets that spans several blocks south toward the War Memorial and is owned by the State and supposedly patrolled by Capitol Police. Since January 1, 2017, IMPD has filed dozens of crime reports listing 777 North Meridian Street, the address of the Mall, and made dozens of arrests on charges including robbery, drugs, assault and weapons possession.
Comparable Capitol Police arrest statistics were unavailable but downtown IMPD patrol officers and neighbors to the Mall have told FOX59 they rarely see Capitol Police on patrol let alone enforcing the law and making arrests.
In the past, Indiana State Police maintained the Capitol Police was undermanned to fulfill its mandate of protecting the statehouse, state office buildings, parking garages and the various locations including the Mall, the War Memorial, Monument Circle and the ISP Crime Lab northwest of downtown.
“They may have the same struggle that we have over the years,” said Jackie Nytes, CEO of the Indianapolis Public Library. “’We’re supposed to be a public library. Why do we have to take all these extra steps?’ Maybe they’re feeling like, ‘We’re supposed to be a memorial, why do we have to take all these extra step?’ Well, we all live in a city and in today’s culture we all have to take the extra steps.”
Nytes said the library employs its own security chief and force, maintains a ban list of persons not welcomed at the Central Branch and surveillance cameras to keep an eye on the property and the surrounding neighborhood.
The library has recorded only three drug overdoses in recent years and all employees will be trained in application of naloxone to revive overdosing patrons, said Nytes who lamented the Saturday attacks literally at the front door of the library which underwent a $100 million renovation ten years ago.
“There are often people hanging around our building. That happens in a public building downtown that has fairly open access,” she said. “Things happen in the heart of downtown, things happen around our library that we can’t always control.”
According to statute, the Capitol Police, a division of Indiana State Police, is charged with patrolling and maintaining order on the American Legion Mall, where the stabbings occurred in an area well known drug dealing, substance abuse and assaults and discarded syringes have been spotted littering the ground.
IMPD officers have told FOX59 that there are too few Capitol Police to be effective, they take no law enforcement actions and do not engage in the type of regular foot patrols that community and beat policing strategies employ to meet residents and pre-empt crime.
The Attorney General’s office is engaged in developing protocols and a memorandum of understanding that would open its parks and monuments to proactive IMPD patrols and reduce the hours of park access to permit enforcement of trespassing laws.
ISP maintains that IMPD is welcome on its property during any emergency or in response to a criminal event while its Capitol Police officers often secure locations during large downtown events such as rallies and parades.