INDIANAPOLIS–Accountability. Transparency. The end to systemic racism. On Saturday, those were just three of the many things protesters in Indianapolis said they want to see from police, government leaders, and society going forward.
Destiny Brown, one of the organizers of the protest, said people need to do a better job of voting bad leaders out of office. Her frustration isn’t just with the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“I want to see people fill the polls. Use the power of voting. They’ve been trying to disenfranchise the black vote for so many years since the beginning. Even from a federal level, I have not heard our representatives say they stand with us,” said Brown outside the steps of the Indiana War Memorial Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds of people showed up to the memorial and Monument Circle with signs that said “Black Lives Matter”, “No Justice, No Peace”, and some even mentioned Sean Reed, a black man who was shot by an IMPD officer May 6.
“I also want to make sure Sean Reed’s case sees justice. I want to make sure there are body cameras for police officers. I want to make sure the autopsy report is released, not only to the family but with the family’s permission, to the public. The true crime at that time was his skin color,” said Brown.
Robin Coleman, a protester, said she lives in fear of what the police may do to her every day. She says she’s been the victim of inappropriate behavior by the police twice.
“I’ve had police put a shotgun to my head twice. One for supposedly running a stop sign, which was inaccurate. The other time was because I seemed suspicious for turning the corner. I’m concerned for my son because he’s black in America. We’re just tired of all of it,” said Coleman.
Another protestor named Austin said lots of people are posting on social media, but then not taking action. He says that has to change.
“It’s easier to just blast something on social media than it is to actually be an activist for change. More activism is needed,” said Austin.
Community and faith leaders also met at the Indiana Statehouse Saturday afternoon, denouncing rioting and looting in Indianapolis. Many of those leaders expressed their own pain over Floyd’s death and encouraged people to continue to protest but do so peacefully.
Saturday’s protest turned into a riot by late evening. Several businesses were damaged. One person died. An officer was injured.
Tear gas was deployed on protesters who got out of hand in Fort Wayne on Friday and Saturday.
Weekend protests in Elkhart and South Bend remained peaceful.