By Charlie De Mar
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (OCT. 20, 2014)- After unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and months of protests and riots, people are now asking if Indianapolis is a “Ferguson situation” waiting to happen.
On Monday, a group of gathered at Martin University to discuss the topic with local law enforcement officials.
Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Rick Hite, Superintendent of Indiana State Police Doug Carter, Marion County Sheriff John Layton and others served as panelists in the forum.
“The challenge for us is how do we disagree? I would hope its respectfully, and this is what this meeting is all about,” said Superintendent Carter.
“It’s quite scary because I do have a teenage son as well,” said Lawanna Robinson, a Martin University student and meeting attendee.
Robinson says that she can see similarities between her son and Michael Brown.
“My son was actually a victim of gun violence about two years ago,” said Robinson.
Robinson’s son, Jacob Robinson, is now paralyzed after he was shot six times on Indy’s east side.
“Violence doesn’t solve anything. It’s time to start talking,” said Robinson.
Communication between the people of Indianapolis and the people who are tasked with keeping the community safe was the focus of Monday’s public discussion.
“I think Indianapolis is no different than Ferguson. It’s no different from any other city because there’s a lot of anger in the community,” said Magistrate Geoffrey Gaither, Juvenile Division, Marion County Superior Court.
“I think we have better ideas of what not to do, where it won’t explode in such a manner,’ said Allen Bailey, a meeting attendee.
Superintendent Carter says having conversations with the community before something catastrophic happens is key in preventing an eruption like the on in Ferguson.
“People dressed like me will make mistakes, but 99 percent of people like me would give their life for you,” said Superintendent Carter.