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IN Focus: Hogsett, Merritt gear up for general election, react to Ten Point controversy

INDIANAPOLIS - Controversial comments posted on Facebook about the Ten Point Coalition brought strong reaction Friday from Indianapolis' mayor and the candidate seeking to replace him this election year.

Mayor Joe Hogsett (D-Indianapolis) and his opponent State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) both reacted to the news after two Indianapolis city employees were reprimanded following those controversial comments made on social media.

Late Thursday night, a city spokesperson confirmed Gregory Meriweather, the Strategic Initiative Liaison for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, was suspended for three days. Meanwhile, Shonna Majors, the city’s Director of Community Violence Reduction, received a formal warning and will no longer participate in this year’s cycle for awarding grant dollars for local crime prevention organizations.

Earlier Thursday, Reverend Charles Harrison with Indy Ten Point Coalition called out the two officials on social media for comments he says show a negative bias towards his organization.

In the video above, see what Hogsett and Merritt told us about the controversy, and what they're saying about the official launch of the general election campaign days after winning their respective primaries.

Hogsett defeated fellow Democrat Denise Hatch by a wide margin Tuesday night, as he seeks a second term in office as Indianapolis' mayor. He previously served as a U.S. attorney for Southern District of Indiana from 2010-2014.

Merritt bested two Republican candidates in Tuesday's primary. He has been a State Senator for 28 years, and threw his hat into the Indianapolis mayoral race in January of 2019. He is running on the platform of “Indianapolis deserves better,” highlighting the senseless violence the city has seen in recent years.

The general election for mayor will be November 5.

Hogsett issued the following statement after declaring victory in the primary:

“When Indianapolis faced a deep deficit, we worked together to deliver back-to-back balanced budgets. When our city felt the harms of decades of underfunding on our roads and streets, we stepped forward with a plan to spend $400 million on infrastructure over the next four years. And when we saw that not every family feels safe in their neighborhood, we prioritized expanding our police force, invested in programs that target the root causes of violent crime, and returned to community-based beat policing. Together, we have accomplished so much in just a few short years. Tonight, we take another step toward four more.”

Merritt released the following statement later Tuesday night:

 “I’m grateful to all of our supporters for tonight’s primary victory. I couldn’t have done this without your encouragement and I promise to live up to the trust you’ve shown in me. Now, it’s on to the general election and to letting the people of Indianapolis know that the future ahead can be brighter.

“The people of Indianapolis have been neglected for four years. The current mayor’s legacy will be a failure of leadership, failure of vision and failure to add the latest and greatest to the Indianapolis story. Public safety will be the number one issue of the Merritt administration. It’s time once again to walk down the streets and feel safe. And friends, it’s time to fix our infrastructure.

“It’s time to take our city back. This is the city that I love. I will work every day to earn the right and the privilege to serve the people of Indianapolis.”

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