IMPD, community members meet to discuss hot button issues like department culture, access to body camera footage

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INDIANAPOLIS — Community members and IMPD agree, ongoing conversations between them are crucial long before a tragedy happens.

The Northwest Community Resource District Council met with Police Chief Randal Taylor and Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears virtually on Wednesday night. This public conversation included several hot button topics like department culture and releasing body camera footage.

“If I come out and I’m dealing with you, then obviously you can make that request,” Taylor explained regarding the request of body camera video worn by officers. “But it’s not open to just anybody. There has to be reasoning behind that.”

Mears also explained how releasing body camera footage could present challenges for a fair trial.

“If you put that video evidence out and there’s no additional context, you know, does that make what someone did look guilty or innocent, and then that person can’t get a fair trial,” Mears said. “Then the second part of it is, if you put that video out, you want people to come forward with information based on what they remember and what they know, not because they saw a video.”

Those on the panel asked Taylor about responding to the FedEx mass shooting, and the emotional toll it took on him and his officers.

“Thirty-four years in law enforcement, that’s probably the worst that I’ve dealt with because I’m in there with those families and it’s one after the other after the other,” the chief said

Organizers hope this conversation continues, and helps the public understand the process and policies of IMPD.

“If we don’t have the process of how it should take, how long it should take, what’s possible, and what’s not, well then we’re left to our own devices and our own assumptions,” LeRoy Lewis III, Chair of Northwest Community Resource District Council, said.

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