Indianapolis police union president reported a serious lack of trust between local police in Marion County District Attorney Ryan Mears and the justice system.
In a vote of confidence held among officers across the county, the local Fraternal Order of Police said on Monday that a majority said they “have no confidence” in Mears – a Democrat who is running in the election this year – as well as in the Marion County court system.
President Rick Snyder said that 98.9% of officers who voted “did not trust” Mears and 96.5% did not trust the justice system, pointing to several examples of violent incidents in Indianapolis as the reason. He declined to say how many members voted, but said they were “hundreds and hundreds” and a representative sample of its members.
Snyder further said the vote included officials from all law enforcement agencies across the county and the Lawrence Police Department, including the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Beech Grove, Speedway, Cumberland, Indianapolis International Airport, Southport, IUPUI, University of Indianapolis, Butler, Indianapolis Public Schools and City School Police and other agencies.
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The vote was a symbolic gesture that points to the division between the Marion County Police, the local prosecutor and the justice system.
“I do not report this lightly. I can assure you that our members did not take this lightly,” Snyder told reporters. “It really left me heartbroken in a lot of ways. I have never seen our Marion County criminal justice process in the wreckage it is in now.”
As a result, Snyder said the union will again ask to meet with Statehouse officials, along with the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. He also said they will, for the first time, ask for help from Governor Eric Holcomb and the executive branch.
He emphasized, however, that the results do not mean that police officers will stop working.
“We’re simply asking everyone to support us, stay with us, to make sure the rest of the system does its job,” he said.
Judges: ‘We are part of the community’
The Marion County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the vote. “The women and men in the prosecutor’s office remained focused on work,” a spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department also declined to comment.
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Marion Superior Court issued a statement Monday noting that judges are limited in what they can say about cases because of Indiana Supreme Court rules of conduct.
“There are approximately 160,000 newly filed cases in Marion County each year,” the statement read. “Each case must be decided on its own merits according to the law. And that’s what our judges are committed to doing every day.”
The statement went on to say that the courts “receive feedback on how to improve the system” but said that “attacking the judiciary as lenient is counterintuitive.”
“As judges, we live and work in Marion County. It’s where we raise our families, buy groceries and cheer for our favorite teams,” the statement said. “We are part of the community and part of the team that works to seek access to justice for all while maintaining security.”
FOP president points to multiple police shootings
As evidence of a supposedly inept justice system, Snyder pointed to the February shooting of Indianapolis Metro Police Officer Thomas Mangan by a suspect with an outstanding warrant for violation of parole from a conviction for robbery and possession of a firearm by a violent criminal. serious. Mangan was shot in the throat and is still recovering from his injury.
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He also pointed to the Mears office’s decision not to file a red flag petition against the man who carried out the FedEx shooting in 2021. Earlier this year, Snyder announced that the FOP is endorsing Mears’ opponent Cyndi Carrasco, republican, by Marion. County Attorney.
But the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” Snyder said, was when an Elwood police officer was shot to death multiple times on July 31 by a man who had previously been convicted in Marion County of shooting Indianapolis police officers several years ago. 16 years.
Carl Roy Webb Boards II has been charged with murder and other crimes related to the violent shooting death of Elwood police officer Noah Shahnavaz. The Madison County Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty against him.
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Shahnavaz was found in his patrol car by police on the morning of July 31. He had multiple gunshot wounds and his gun was still holstered. He was 24 years old.
After Shahnavaz’s death, Snyder made public comments condemning Marion County Judge Mark Stoner for allegedly giving Boards a “soft modified sentence” in a remarkably similar 2006 case.
Boards was convicted of criminal recklessness and other violent crimes in 2007 after shooting Indianapolis police officers after a traffic stop. Stoner sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
Local lawyers defend Stoner
In a press release earlier this month, the Indianapolis Bar Association criticized Snyder for the comments and claimed that Boards’ 25-year prison sentence was “neither lenient nor modified.” The local bar association noted that Boards did not receive the maximum sentence possible in 2007, but the sentence he received was “close to the maximum allowed under Indiana law”.
The councils asked several times to modify his sentence, the association said, but those requests were denied. In at least one request to change his 2007 sentence, Boards argued that he was not “nefarious” but someone struggling with bipolar disorder, according to a 2008 Indiana Court of Appeals memorandum ruling.
The ruling judge wrote that Boards claimed he was “patrolling Indianapolis for terrorists” and that he shot the two Indianapolis police officers after a vehicle chase “only because he didn’t want them to interfere with his protection mission.” He had used ecstasy at the time of the shooting, the judge wrote.
In that decision, the appeals court denied Boards’ request for a modification of the sentence because it ruled that 25 years was not “inappropriate.”
“In light of the dangerous situation created by the Councils, we are surprised that no serious injuries or deaths resulted in police officers or bystanders,” the decision states.
‘Too much frustration brewing’
Boards was eligible for release in August 2019, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections. His service time was halved because of a time credit system enshrined in state law that allowed prisoners to receive one day of credit for each day of good behavior.
The Indiana Department of Corrections and Marion County Community Corrections reviewed advice for transfer to a community transition program, and he was released from prison in April 2019. Judge Stoner signed off on that transfer.
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Stoner declined to comment with IndyStar.
Rebecca Geyer, president of the Indianapolis Bar, said they decided to issue a statement condemning Snyder’s comments because “they want to make sure people are hearing the facts about every case.”
“I understand there’s a lot of frustration brewing, and certainly when lives are lost (in) tragic circumstances,” she said. “But we, as lawyers in this area, are really advocating that there be a proper conversation between the parties so that we can resolve the things that underlie these issues in our community.”
Call IndyStar Court Reporter Johnny Magdaleno at 317-273-3188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @IndyStarJohnny
Please contact Sarah Nelson at 317-503-7514 or email@example.com
This article originally appeared in Indianapolis Star: Vote Shows Division Between Indianapolis Police Union, Court System