Board votes ‘no violation’ by 2 officers in aaron bailey shooting – wish electricity transmission

"The Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and the Baptist Minister’s Alliance are most disappointed to hear that the Police Merit Board has decided not to terminate Officers Michael Dinnsen and Carlton Howard for their involvement in the death of Aaron Bailey. Although not physically present, we have been watching this case with great interest. We felt that the evidence as presented is overwhelming and a just result should follow. Further, we observed Police Chief Brian Roach, who has a long track record within IMPD, evaluate and made the recommendation for termination. The Chief was hired because he was deemed the best qualified candidate for the job with over 30 years of experience. How is it that Chief Roach would not know what was an offense is that merits termination? We believe that the Chief’s decision to terminate is correct and is in the best interest of IMPD and the Indianapolis community. With the Merit Board’s decision that have setback community policing back in our city.

"The African-American community remains extremely concerned about the large number of cases involving Police Action shooting of unarmed African-American suspects. Many of us were praying for justice and watching with great interest this Merit Board trial of the Officers Michael Dinnsen and Carlton Howard, wherein the Chief requested termination. One of the officers testified that he was in fear of his life at the time of shooting. It has been shared that during the training at the Police Academy, officers are taught to articulate fear to justify shooting suspects. If the officers were in fear of their life merely because the suspect was an African-American, clearly additional actions must be taken to allow justice for the family of Aaron Bailey. It cannot be accepted that every officer can allege “fear” and that be allowed the reason that an unarmed African-American be killed and supported by the Police Merit Board.

"In addition, there is a great concern about the composition of the current Police Merit Board. This Merit Board continues to support police officers to a fault. They want to call these decisions a teachable moment for the community when it is police chiefs that bring these recommendations for termination and not the community.

"Are they saying that our police chiefs who come forth with recommendations for termination are incompetent and do not know what offenses merit termination? The Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and the Baptist Minister’s Alliance believe that the Merit Board should not allow any person to serve on the board who have represented police officers in any capacity in their occupation.

"The Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and Baptist Minister’s Alliance hate to see the family of Aaron Bailey being another victim in Indianapolis of this senseless tragedy. Clearly changes need to be made concerning the Merit Board. For example, there must be an investigation of the board to determine if any current or prior conflicts of interest exists. Justice requires accountability!"

“We are outraged that the Merit Board chose to add Aaron Bailey to the long list of our loved ones murdered at the hands of law enforcement with absolutely no recourse. From Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and now Aaron Bailey, this decision stole from us the belief that the United States is a place where Black and Brown people can live in freedom and safety.”

“This horror show that robs children of their fathers and mothers will not end until police officers who act recklessly are held accountable. It’s time for a new deal with the Fraternal Order of Police, so individuals who fail to uphold the charge to protect and serve can be held personally responsible for loss of life in criminal and civil court.”

“This verdict is much larger than officers Dinnsen and Howard. It tells us that we still live in a time when simply invoking tired tales of ‘Black Men as threats to be feared’ will absolve police officers from their duty to serve and protect. As people of faith, we reject the demonic belief that fear and violence toward Black people is justified and demand a new deal with the police union focused on accountability and transparency.”

“While we grieve for the miscarriage of justice the Bailey family has endured. This Grief is not theirs alone. As a mother of a young Black man, I like millions of Black mothers, live in daily fear of getting a call that he was killed at the hands of the police. We will not sit on the sidelines, while our communities are terrorized by the state. Faith in Indiana is committed to make sure Indianapolis keeps down the road to reform and puts in place measures to hold law enforcement accountable and restore safety to Black and Brown communities.”

"Today’s decision by the Civilian Police Merit Board to overturn the recommended termination of two officers is a disappointing and frustrating reminder that even as we continue our efforts to reform our criminal justice system, much work remains to be done.

"I have complete faith in the judgment and the leadership of IMPD Chief Bryan Roach, whose experience over three decades in the police department has more than prepared him to make difficult decisions as it relates to the discipline and termination of officers.

"The fact that Chief Roach’s experienced, well-reasoned decision to terminate two officers has been overturned by the votes of five individuals highlights a Merit Board system that must be changed if we are to continue building bridges of trust between our brave police officers and the communities they proudly serve.

"For our community as a whole, I simply ask that even as today’s decision creates understandable sadness and frustration, it is only through unity, not division, that we can continue to move our city forward. Let us use this moment as an opportunity to come together and resolve that we will honor those affected by this tragedy through a commitment to peaceful change."