INDIANAPOLIS -- A coalition of black leaders said at a news conference Thursday that the Indianapolis Police Department needs to address what they feel is officers' disrespect toward African Americans.
The bulk of the leaders' complaints had to do with traffic stops. They said they believe some officers have stopped black drivers or otherwise mistreated them because of their skin color.
The Rev. Charles Harrison, who is black, said he was driving his car on 38th Street near Crown Hill Cemetery on Aug. 18 when a police officer stopped him. Harrison was in a construction zone that had a speed limit of 35 mph, and the officer told him he had been going at 42 mph, Harrison said.
Harrison, who said he was wearing a clergy collar at the time, believed he hadn't been speeding.
"In talking to the police officer, it led into a confrontation where the police officer ... stepped back and pushed me in the chest," Barnes said. "When I put my arm up and knocked the police officer's hand away from me, he reached for his gun and his handcuffs and said to me (that) I would be the first minister that he ever arrested."
Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears heard about the news conference and met with Harrison, a minister at Barnes United Methodist Church.
"I think our department is a good one. I'm very proud of our police officers," Spears told RTV6's Derrik Thomas "Certainly when a complaint of misconduct or inappropriate behavior surfaces, it's disturbing. We want to do everything we can to address it, learn from it and make sure it doesn't reoccur."
Harrison, who was given a $175 speeding ticket, has filed a complaint with a citizen complaint board. He said he would contest the ticket.
The board has received 50 complaints about officers this year. In 10 cases, the panel ruled that officers behaved improperly, Thomas reported.
So 80% of the time the complaint is pure BS!
Wish I could play the race card every time I messed up. If a black oficer pulls me over can I say it's because I'm just a poor dumb white cracker?
Chances are there was a camcorder running in the police car. It will be interesting to find out what really happened.