The ACLU of Indiana today made the following statement regarding the ongoing protests and calling on Indiana law enforcement agencies to recognize, condemn, and work to fix the systemic racism and excessive force that too often leads to the deaths of Black people at the hands of police officers.
The following can be attributed to Jane Henegar, executive director at the ACLU of Indiana:
“Public anger and frustration has reached a boiling point over the murders of people of color, including George Floyd in Minnesota, and Dreasjon Reed here in Indianapolis. People have taken to the streets to exercise their right to demand accountability in individual cases, as well as an end to generations of police violence and brutality against Black communities.
“We urge state and local law enforcement, as well as the National Guard, to respect demonstrators’ First Amendment rights and avoid making arrests or using force, including tear gas, unless necessary to protect human life. Tear gas has been banned in warfare and should never be used against peaceful protesters exercising their constitutional rights. The deployment of military personal and excessive force used against protestors only escalates the risks to all.
“These violent police interactions are not new. The systemic targeting of and use of unnecessary force against people of color is woven into the fabric of our law enforcement institutions and stems from the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in this country. We are in dire need of drastic and swift policy changes to address police brutality and use of excessive force.
“In addition, it is time that Indiana law enforcement recognize and condemn the systemic racism that makes these killings so commonplace. Policies, protocols and training are important, but, in addition, each one of us must take on the personal burden to confront and dismantle the root of the problem.”
More information on protesters’ rights, including the right to record police, is available online: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/protesters-rights/
A video from the ACLU on the right to protest while demanding justice for George Floyd is at: https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/1266553313266368518?s=20