INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Chief Bryan Roach will meet with reporters Wednesday afternoon to update the investigation into last Friday night’s deadly police shooting of a man on the city’s northeast side.
Deshon Downing, 45, was killed by police gunfire in the 8400 block of East 42nd Street when officers said he displayed a weapon during a traffic stop.
A community advisory group working with IMPD to improve its training and public outreach policies is urging patience as the investigation continues.
“I think the first thing from both our perspective as well as what we’re asking the community to do is actually wait to get information that should be coming from the chief’s office,” said Marshawn Wooley of the African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI) that advised IMPD in the wake of the Aaron Bailey fatal shooting in June of 2017.
Bailey was an unarmed man who was shot to death after he wrecked his car while fleeing from police. Officers thought he was armed and fired in self-defense.
A special prosecutor declined to charge the patrolmen and the IMPD Merit Board overruled Roach and permitted the men to retain their jobs.
A lawsuit settlement with Bailey’s family in the summer of 2018 resulted in a cash payment from the city and a commitment by the department to improve its training of officers and recruits.
“Our officers are really working hard to learn the lessons from the Aaron Bailey unfortunate tragic death and we’re getting better as a department,” said IMPD Major Kendale Adams. “When you talk about training, time and distance, we have really begun to see our officers use that as one of their tools in their tool belt as well as high risk traffic stops.”
Last year, IMPD began implicit bias training at its academy and this Wednesday and Thursday night will offer fair and impartial police training for community members.
The AACI met with Chief Roach and Mayor Joe Hogsett in the wake of the Bailey lawsuit settlement and, while he approves of the changes thus far, Wolley said more needs to be done.
“Part of the reason why you want a multi-agency investigation is the question of legitimacy. Police should not be investigating themselves particularly in a fatal incident,” said Wolley who suggested IMPD call in the FBI or Indiana State Police to investigate police action shootings. “We’re also looking for a use of force board to come into action and into existence. There has not been enough progress on that.”
Wolley said IMPD has posted its General Orders for public review of the department’s rules governing its officers.
He is hoping Indy police will put more teeth into its civilian review process.
IMPD was involved in eight police-action shootings in 2017, four in 2018 and three so far this year. Each year, one person died as the result of police gunfire.
IMPD reports that there are seats still available for its Fair and Impartial Policing Community Sessions this week.