"This incident, I want everybody to understand, does not define the Summer Celebration. It does not define Black Expo, it does not define the City of Indianapolis, nor the African-American community in Indianapolis," Ballard said . . .The Mayor further downplayed the event by claiming there were fewer arrests this year than in previous years. Perhaps that's because police were so overwhelmed responding to all of the shooting victims they didn't have time to make as many arrests. Mayor Ballard's attempt to isolate these weekend shootings from Black Expo is further insulting. This is not a new problem. As today's Star notes, "[V]iolence has found Summer Celebration's final weekend before." "In 2006, five people were wounded in two Downtown shootings. In 2007, two teenage girls were arrested after, police said, one fired a gun into the air." Business owners have complained for years about the loss of business during this event because people are simply too afraid to come downtown while this event is taking place. It is unacceptable that taxpayers are expected to pick up the tab for the huge police presence--approximately 350 police officers--to patrol this event. News reports from inside the Teen Bling at Conseco Fieldhouse showed only a small crowd in attendance. Why people would dump off kids this young downtown year after year to roam the streets unsupervised and expect the police to babysit them is beyond me. When people complained about the Car Craft Street Machine Nationals bringing too much criminal activity to the City, which was attended mostly by whites, they dropped the event. Why is this event viewed any differently?
Sunday morning on Eyewitness News Weekend Sunrise, Straub talked about potential security changes for next year's Black Expo. He said to keep people safe, officials are considering what's called a "secure zone" downtown. It's the same plan the city will use when it hosts the Super Bowl in 2012 . . .
"You create a secure zone around the Super Bowl. You're able to search people coming in, wand them to make sure that they don't have weapons and these are the kinds of things the mayor and I were talking about last night," Dr. Straub said. "Is there a way, going forward with Black Expo, to theoretically create a safe zone so young people can come and participate in Black Expo and be downtown, but yet have the ability to look for guns and those types of things."
Meanwhile, Straub is working to get more guns off the street.
"During the course of last night, we seized a 9mm handgun, an AK-47, a .22-caliber pistol that was in the hands of a 15-year old and a .32-caliber handgun that was in the hands of an 18-year old who was one of our shooting victims," he said.
Straub naturally brings his New York egghead views to the table. He dismissed gang-related activity when questioned by the media about it. "We don't want to empower people who don't deserve to be empowered," he said. "But clearly there was a conflict between the two groups," the Star reports. Naturally, Straub thinks tougher gun laws will help the problem. Straub also wants to turn downtown into a green zone like they have in Baghdad, Iraq to curtail violence. This is the same thing they're planning to do for the Super Bowl in 2012, which is why I've been saying all along local residents will be shut out of their own downtown during the event for which our city is spending in preparation tens of millions of our tax dollars so only the elite few who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on tickets or the politicians who get free tickets to the event can take part in the Super Bowl.
Rev. Charles Harrison, unlike Ballard and Straub, seems to understand the real problem:
"We need to deal with the real issues. Some of our kids are out of control, some of our kids are rude, bad, they don't care how they talk to people, they disrespect authority and they don't respect property or life and some of our kids are violent," said Reverend Charles Harrison . . .If this group just has to have this Teen Bling event every year, the name for which obviously courts the gangster rap crowd, then let them take it out to the State Fairgrounds and stop bringing this violence downtown every year, destroying the downtown's image and driving off business. It is quite telling how the same government and business leaders who promote the investment of hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to subsidize downtown's convention and sports facilities are so willing to let a single event that is intended to benefit one minority group do more to wipe out the gains they claim to be making with all of those investment in the name of racial sensitivity.
Reverend Harrison says he is just plain mad.
"The police department, Indiana Black Expo and the faith community cannot be babysitters for thousands of kids. Parents, you have a responsibility to bring your children to Expo and they cannot be here without parental guidelines," he said.
UPDATE: Here's some more silliness from our ICVA on claimed benefits of Black Expo to the downtown's economy from WRTV:
According to the ICVA, IBE's Summer Celebration brings in more than $23 million in direct visitor spending every year.That number is totally bogus. Downtown business owners will tell you the exact opposite. This event hurts not helps their business. WRTV picks up on that fact:
Still, some restaurant owners, many who didn't want to go on camera, said the safety concerns outweigh a busy weekend.Did you catch that? "Businesses have been told they can not close Black Expo weekend." Why would the businesses want to close if the event is such an economic benefit to downtown businesses? Again, it's a another one of those lies the ICVA throws out and nobody challenges them on it. Nobody wants to work those shifts because they don't make any tips and because they fear for their safety when they walk to their cars to go home. And then there's more on Ballard's claim that the number of arrests were down this year:
"Nobody wants to work those shifts. They want to give them up because they're afraid for their safety when they're trying to get home," said Jon Andrus, owner of O'Reilly's Irish Pub. "Businesses have been told they can not close Black Expo weekend … however, there is a safety issue involved and, you know, it's tough because it's such a divisive issue and I think people just don't want to be insensitive."
Police said there were 16 non-curfew-related arrests over the weekend, compared with 75 arrests last year. Officers also made 54 curfew-related-arrests, compared with 96 last year.The only reason the number of arrests were down was because our police officers were ordered not to arrest anyone unless they saw them committing a serious crime, like attempted murder, rape, theft, etc. in order to avoid offending African-Americans. Stop insulting our intelligence by trying to convince us the level of criminal activity was down in the wake of 10 people being shot at this single event. And tell us how much those