Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jail Employee Charged With Criminal Gang Activity Related To Downtown Shooting

The facts of the downtown shooting during Indiana Black Expo's Teen Bling just get more disturbing. Today, IMPD charged a Marion County Jail II employee and her minor son with criminal gang activity arising out of the investigation of the downtown shooting spree by 17-year-old Shamus Patton that left nine youths shot. WTHR reports on the jail worker's arrest:

Metro Police made two gang arrests related to the shootings downtown during the Black Expo Summer Celebration. One of the suspects is a woman who works at the Marion County Jail. The other is her teenaged son. Police found gang paraphernalia in the suspects' home.

The gunfire that wounded nine people during Black Expo weekend was gang-related, according to Metro Police. Shamus Patton, 17, faces charges in the downtown shootings.

Tuesday, police arrested 34-year-old Michelle Hurns, an employee of CCA, the private company that runs the Marion County Jail 2 and her 16-year-old son on charges that include criminal gang activity.

IMPD's gang unit discovered gang paraphernalia, cell phones, a computer and bullets at her home on the southeast side. Among the items seized from the home was a Grimmie Boyz T-shirt.

"She was either a member of that gang or supported her son in that gang," said Sgt. Linda Jackson, IMPD.

The Grimmie Boyz is a criminal gang active in Indianapolis that police believe was the apparent target by Shamus Patton, an alleged member of a rival gang called the Ratchet Boys.

Police believe Hurns' son was a witness to the downtown shooting. Authorities say the teen and his mother fought with police during Tuesday's arrest.
It is important to note that Michelle Hurns is an employee of the private operator of Jail II, Corrections Corporation of America, and not the sheriff's department. Hurns works in the intake area of the jail. It is very disturbing that steps are not taken to monitor the employees working for the private contractor more closely. This kind of personnel breakdown at the jail opens the opportunity for contraband to make its way into the jail. WTHR's report indicates Hurns was verbally abusive and resisted arrest. She's been charged with criminal gang activity, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. Her 16-year-old son is facing similar charges in juvenile court. Earlier reports indicated there was an attempt by Hurns' son to incite a riot in their neighborhood when police were taking them into custody. This seems to be a pattern provoked following the alleged beating by police of a youth who attempted to interfere with the arrest of his younger brother on home invasion charges.

We're really sitting on a powder keg here in Indianapolis with racial tensions running high and police feeling their hands are now tied to effectively combat crime in the City because of the egg-headed leadership of New Yorker Frank Straub. Reports I'm getting about the policing downtown on the night of the shootings confirms that. Despite a presence of 500 police officers, business owners complain that police did nothing to curtail bad behavior. According to one account, one business owner had to watch while youths destroyed property at his restaurant while police looked on and refused to stop them, even after the business owner appealed for help. That's because they were under orders by Straub to avoid making any arrests in an abundance of caution to avoid offending the African-American community. The teens quickly surmised that the huge police presence posed no threat to carrying out serious crimes, such as the shootings that occurred.

While police patted themselves on the back for capturing Shamus Patton after two days on the lam, others including me are not impressed. The second shooter has never been identified by police. Patton fired off numerous rounds at two different locations where there was a large presence of police on foot, on horseback, bikes and riding in cruisers. That he was able to fire shots is no surprise. That police couldn't apprehend him before he escaped is inexcusable. That Patton, who had faced nine previous criminal charges over the past two years, including a search warrant two months ago that uncovered evidence of his criminal gang activity and was still on the streets instead of locked up in the juvenile offender center is an outrage.

One final note on Straub. During a meeting this summer with a group of black ministers at a church, I'm told by an administration official that Straub repeatedly dropped the f-bomb during his presentation. The ministers were none too pleased with his foul language. I'm told Straub was oblivious to the idea that anyone would have been offended by him using the f-word. It is interesting that Straub's faux pas has been completely ignored by the news media, some of whom I know have been made aware of it happening. I guess it doesn't fit the meme that Straub is an intellectually superior east coaster among the rubes that is helping us find our way out of the dark ages.


Paul K. Ogden said...

I would note that the Sheriff has the right to screen all MC II employees hired by CCA and disapprove of individuals as unqualified or unsuited to work at the jail. I am not aware of the Sheriff ever exercising this authority.

Downtown Indy said...

You hit the nail. Their goal for Summer Celebration was to show a reduction of arrests (and by extension, 'crime') and they achieved it. That is in concert with Ballard's frequent bragging about crime being down.

What they didn't figure on was 10 people getting shot, thus blowing their plan apart.

CircleCityScribe said...

Another example of Frank Anderson's LOWER standards....

-take a peek, lower standards for police got corrupt minority hire-on's/retainees that just disgusted the City Council so much Frank lost the police department. His Sheriff's department continues that lower standard to the his hiring an excessively disproportionate rate that results in LOWER standards....and "overlooking" problems???

Gary R. Welsh said...

Again, CCA hired the employee, not the sheriff.

Paul K. Ogden said...


True...CCA hired the employee. And I think it's unreasonable for the Sheriff to be directly involved in screening lower level employees at CCA.

But he should review periodically the system CCA has in place to screen those employees and he should be directly involved in approving top employees over at Jail #2, wardens, deputy wardens, the doctor, the health services adminstrator. FA doesn't ever do any of that.

CircleCityScribe said...

Paul Ogden, who knows Frank's custom, policy, and practice all too well told us that: "The Sheriff has the right to screen all MC II employees hired by CCA and disapprove of individuals as unqualified or unsuited to work at the jail."

-Again, I challenge anyone to look at the current make-up of Frank's office! The ratio is not like the city...and the problems with lower standards constantly reveal in this case.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Ms. Hurns looks like a grown-up version of one of the two twelve year old Indianapolis girls, who ten years ago, in a journal-writing class, told me that their favorite activity was to go to their boyfriends' clubhouse, and shoot guns. Also, I still am upset to know that Shawn Patton was allowed to roam free toting a handgun, a concealed weapon, with his record.

Anonymous said...

What they didn't figure on was 10 people getting shot, thus blowing their plan apart.

Policing based on image will always end up getting someone hurt. People are making such a big deal of ten people shot at Black Expo on the second Saturday. I say big deal. Folks easily forget that it was only three or four Black Expos ago that six people were shot, and I don't ever recall a shooter being caught. The media didn't even make a big deal out of it really.

I don't know why an additional four people shot make this a huge news story. Not only have people been shot, people have been killed on that day, though it might have only been one or two deaths, and maybe not even in the immediate area.

As far as business owners, they should take note. If you want to stay safe and protect your investment, close up shop on second Saturday.

Also, I still am upset to know that Shawn Patton was allowed to roam free toting a handgun, a concealed weapon, with his record.

I am upset too, and this is why I mostly stay outside of the city if I can help it. You are much less likely to having to mingle with thug types by shopping and hanging out in places in the suburban counties. The problem is, nothing will change. Governments care more about raising taxes for billion dollar football fields than building more jail space so these offenders can be housed for months for their first offense.

I predict things will only get worse, which is why I have already started thinking about moving to an area of the country with much smaller populations.

Downtown Indy said...

spooknp, it was a big deal because it happened amidst huge police presence, was one shooter for 9 of the wounded - a 'new track record', was only by sheer luck no one was killed.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I am so sorry that spookup is getting ready to move out of Indianapolis, but wish him much success in his plans, and know that I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone move to Indianapolis or any other big city.