Several Indianapolis City-County Council members irritated Indianapolis police officers when they displayed at their desks signs which read, "Hands Up . . . Don't Shoot," at last Monday's council meeting in response to the recent police action shooting of an 18-year old black man by a white Ferguson, Missouri police officer. A number of IMPD officers were particularly sensitive to the council members' actions in light of the fact that a remembrance on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the death of Officer Jake Laird, who was killed in the line of duty, was taking place at that very council meeting. The actions of an IMPD public information officer in helping defend one of the council members, however, has called into question his actions.
To the men and women of the entire Public Safety community and their families and friends,
In speaking with IMPD Police Chief Richard Hite and several other police officers, I wanted to issue a brief statement regarding the perceived notion that my actions Monday night, along with the actions of a few other fellow councillors, intentionally orchestrated a plan to disrespect the IMPD Public Safety family.
There are many fine men and women of our Department who know me well and very personally, and are fully aware, that this is the furthest from the truth. I have always and will continue to be in full support of their dedication, commitment, and sacrifice to keep our city healthy and safe.
I was fully endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police during my campaign and as a member of the Public Safety Committee, I fully and equally support their membership and their efforts.
There are many issues facing our city and the need to work with our Public Safety family to strengthen our community and build a high quality police and community relationship is a priority of mine and my fellow councillors.
In the near future, we look forward to working closely with our Public Safety leadership team and focusing our complete and undivided attention on the 2015 budget, in a effort to improve the quality of life for all our citizens.
Leroy Robinson, Councillor At-LargeSome police officers were irked that Robinson was allowed to use the department's e-mail system for what was arguably a political purpose to restore his reputation among rank-and-file police officers. Robinson's e-mail left the impression that Chief Hite had given Sgt. Adams permission to allow Robinson to forward his statement to all police officers using the department's e-mail system.
A number of police officers didn't shy away from sending reply e-mails to Robinson's statement to voice their disappointment in his actions. One officer said the "hands up, don't shoot" sign displayed by Robinson had "the Ferguson, MO anti-police sentiments embedded in it and that is what Robinson displayed: anti-police sentiments." "Just embarrassing and disrespectful on all levels," wrote another officer. "It was a classless move on your part and others who had those signs," said another officer. "You say you support IMPD, I see no apology in your statement or no explanation . . . just a lot of ask others about me." Other sentiments expressed by officers included the following:
- "I was amazed at the ignorance displayed. I assumed they were educated people."
- "Showing support to any side before all evidence has come out is taking sides with mob rule. You have condemned the officer and joined the mob who are demanding that he be charged, judged and convicted before any evaluation of the evidence. It is disrespectful to the justice system, the rule of law and our society."
- "Wonder what would happen if we displayed a sign like that in one of our police cars? An officer was suspended for having an "Impeach Obama" sticker in his police car that people could see outside the car."
- "We should reasonably expect you to limit the scope of your activities to those which you are elected to do while operating in that elected capacity. You acted as a community activist when you should have limited yourself to the role of a community representative at the council meeting. Please remind your fellow councilors of their roles."
Thank you for sharing your comments, questions and concerns.
I do appreciate the fact that you elaborated on another police officer's concerns.
With that said, I stand by my statement and I would never allow you or anyone else to define me, my role as a councilor, my full support for the entire law enforcement community, or my over 30-years working in our entire community, based on a sign that hung in front of my name-plate at a public meeting.
Leroy Robinson, Councillor At Large