Indiana Black Caucus says they haven’t heard from Gov. Holcomb despite his emphasis on collaboration


INDIANAPOLIS — Friday, the IBLC held a press conference to announce its official list of policy reform requests for the governor plus state and local leaders. You can read more on that here.

After 5 repeated days of requests for his ‘list”, the Governor’s Office did reply to Edmé. A spokeswoman said, 

“As the Governor laid out on Monday, he is working on a variety ideas including address better healthcare access, affordable housing, educational opportunity, job training and placement, urban economic development, access to capital, criminal justice reform, as well as policing standards and race relations for those disproportionately affected. Additionally, you can find his 2020 Next Level Agenda as well as his agenda from previous year online.”

Edmé pressed further for the specific agenda to address protesters’ concerns about Black Hoosiers, police reform, and criminal justice reform. The spokeswoman added the 2020 Next Level Agenda, which was announced in December 2019, is “providing a vision for the upcoming year. It’s not an exclusive list.” Also noting that the Governor considers and develops ideas throughout the year.

At Friday’s coronavirus task force press conference, the Governor said he briefly met and spoke with the IBLC, and acknowledges this will take time. He noted future meetings with the IBLC have been set to discuss solutions.

“We need to listen, and most importantly, we need to act,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We’re taking a lot of time to make sure that we hear from everyone that shares these concerns and we’re not exclusionary. And we’re going to be very thoughtful about the actions that we do take, so I appreciate theirs.”

PREVIOUS – During Monday’s press conference, Governor Holcomb, when asked why Black Hoosiers should have faith in lawmakers and his policies, answered in part, “Our collective conscience has been awaken to the point where we need to all have a list. And I will have—I do actually have, but I want to add to it obviously.”

FOX59’s Beairshelle Edmé requested the “list” of plans the governor discussed Monday evening from his office, but did not receive a response Monday.

Holcomb also talked about collaboration, but Monday night the Democratic leadership and a member of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) confirmed with FOX59 that Holcomb hasn’t talked with them.

State Senator Eddie Melton (D, District 3) says that’s part of the problem.

“We’ve moved past the time for making a list. We’re talking about that we as community have been facing for decades—issues of police brutality, of racism. We need a total reconstruction or re-design of the criminal justice system,” said the Democratic lawmaker representing Gary and the surrounding area.

State Senator Melton says something the governor can do now is create a task force to examine the criminal justice system in Indiana.

Long-term policy he recommended and the IBLC have considered previously include:

  • Statewide body cameras for officers and statewide reviews of use of deadly force policies
  • Comprehensive training for police
  • Special prosecutors for police misconduct or use of force investigations

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