IN Focus: AG Hill returns from suspension, blasts calls for police defunding

Politics

Curtis Hill

INDIANAPOLIS — In a letter to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City-County Council, the Indiana ACLU called for reduced funding of IMPD and that dollars instead should be allocated to alleviating the social issues that add to Marion County’s crime rate.

“IMPD’s budget makes up more than 30% of the city’s budget,” read the letter from Indiana ACLU Executive Director Jane Henegar. “As our elected city leaders work on the 2021 budget, you must begin to shift resources away from adding officers and militarized equipment and toward Black and Brown community-based initiatives that support true safety, health and well-being.”

“We certainly think that there’s over-policing in our communities of color,” Henegar told FOX59 News. “We can take money away from that over-policing effort and shrink the size of policing in our city and use those dollars to reinvest in communities of color.

“We can achieve public safety without more police, without more jails. There are a lot of other investments that our communities need.”

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, returning to his office for the first time after serving a 30-day license suspension imposed by the Indiana Supreme Court, told FOX59 News in an exclusive interview that to simply defund local police in the wake of nationwide violence after protests over racial injustice and calls for criminal justice reform would leave communities unprotected.

“It sort of suggests a dystopian society that things are just happy-go-lucky and we don’t need law enforcement, people will just behave,” said Hill. “So we defund the police, what happens to those investigations of bad behavior? What happens to having someone to call out on a 911 call to stop a threat when it occurring?

“It will also result in an uptick of need because there is a certain group of people who will commit offenses because they can, because there’s no line to stop them.”

State Representative Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, issued a statement that read, “I would not use the word defund as we do need police.”

When it came to addressing funding shifts to law enforcement budgets, Pryor wrote, “This includes demilitarizing the police departments … using some of those funds to build up communities with needed resources is far better than stockpiling weapons that can be used against people when they peacefully protest.”

Hill disagreed.

“We’ve seen situations where police have been outmanned and outgunned and, again, we put them out there to protect us. We need to make sure that we protect and provide them with the resources to do that job.

“We can’t get enough training for police, making sure that as we have different circumstances occurring, how are we looking at things, who is looking? The more training we have, the better we have it.”

Law enforcement spending in Marion County will be debated in August when Mayor Hogsett unveils his municipal budget for 2021. With the most recent killing on the city’s eastside this afternoon, Indianapolis is quickly closing in on one hundred homicides for 2020, an approximate 30% increase over this same time last year.

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