INDIANAPOLIS — The record for most homicides in Indianapolis ever was broken on Thursday when the city reached 180 people killed, and there are still months to go in 2020. The families of the victims are demanding answers, justice and accountability.
Back on February 5, the Indianapolis City-County Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee members voted down a proposal aimed at organizing a volunteer, bipartisan study commission to review the city’s long-term and short-term goals for corralling violent crime. Instead, Chairman Leroy Robinson said the committee would move forward with its own plans.
Those plans included adopting a model to use collected data in each councilor’s district for allocating money for crime prevention and to improve aspects that affect crime, which includes providing funding for grassroots organizations. That plan was passed by the full council.
On February 5th in a brief exchange, Robinson said “they will turn around,” meaning the crime numbers, under the council committee’s plan. At that time, 20 people had been killed in 2020.
That night, four more young people were killed in a northeast side apartment. It is still the most people killed in a single place this year. Kimari Hunt, 21, Braxton Ford, 21, Marcel Wills, 20, and Jalen Roberts, 19 were all shot to death that night.
Kimberly Roberts, Jalen’s Mom, and Kendra Ford, Braxton’s Mom, do not believe elected officials should shoulder all of the responsibility in preventing more deaths.
“We need to come together as a community,” Kendra said. “We can’t blame the police; we cannot blame the mayor, the governor or anybody else. It starts with us helping our own.”
Kimberly and Kendra question where are all of the crime guns coming from and how are young people getting their hands on them.
“It’s almost as if they’re not afraid to die, or they’re not afraid to kill,” Kimberly said. “We need to find out why are they so angry?”
Of the 181 homicides this year so far, at least 54 of them are people age 22 and younger.
“My heart is hurting so bad not just for the four, our children but for all the young people who have lost their lives this year and the year before,” Kimberly said.
These mothers beg anyone who is considering hurting someone else, specifically the young people, to reconsider.
“You’re 16, 17, 18, 19 years old, but then here you are with a 300 year sentence,” Kendra said. “You have not lived. Go and enjoy your life. Make yourself better.”
Friday, Mayor Joe Hogsett doubled down on his support of smaller and more focused beat policing.
“What we intend to do is double down on expanding our officers into community beat oriented policing so that they get to know the neighborhoods that they serve, and the neighbors get to know them,” Hogsett said.
According to emails and text messages, we have reached out to request an interview with Robinson or City-County Council President Vop Osili nearly two dozen times. To date, Osili and Robinson have never sat down for an interview; instead they have provided written statements.
A spokesperson for the council said there will likely be a window on Monday in which Osili could provide an interview regarding solutions to the surging homicides.