INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police say they’re reviewing allegations that a white Capitol police officer reached for his handgun while confronting a Black Senator.
The reported incident happened inside the statehouse on Saturday, where Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, and Sen. J.D. Ford, D-Indianapolis, led a few dozen people from a racial justice rally. The group ran into the statehouse to seek shelter from a thunderstorm.
According to Senator Ford, two Capitol police officers were too aggressive while questioning their credentials. Ford says the officers may not have recognized the legislators in casual clothes; however, the interaction “was aggressive from the start and could have been de-escalated, but was not.”
“It is an unfortunate irony that my good friend and colleague Senator Eddie Melton experienced some of the same police bias we were there to speak out against. These kinds of incidents are all too common for Black and brown Hoosiers,” Senator Ford said. “The only difference is that this time I had a front-row seat and got to see with my own eyes exactly why so many Hoosiers are so upset with the way they are often treated by law enforcement.”
Ford, a white senator, represents the north and west side of Indianapolis.
Senator Melton says he doesn’t want the incident to detract from the work the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus is doing.
“It’s unfortunate that this situation had to take place,” Senator Melton said. The only reason I am releasing a public statement is because attendants of the rally have already begun sharing their account of the incident on social media. I want to be clear that I don’t want this situation to become a distraction from the work that we’re doing through the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus on our police reform agenda.”