Sunday, November 7, 2010
Indy Fairly Calm After Piland Decision
In the wake of the Jerry Piland exoneration by the IMPD Civilian Merit Commission in the alleged beating of Brandon Johnson, some cities might have erupted in violence. Again, Indianapolis did not.
Indianapolis has a long history of reacting in this manner. Most famously, Indianapolis was one of the few major cities to avoid riots following the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Many credit Robert F. Kennedy's famous speech here in the city that evening for keeping things peaceful.
There are some hard conversations left down the road in this case, and I'm sure that we have not heard the last of it. I personally believe that something inappropriate happened that night when Brandon Johnson sustained those injuries. I simply believe that whoever acted inappropriately should be held accountable. If IMPD's investigation was incomplete or wrong and Piland was not responsible, then the decision on his exoneration was justified. To me, I'll be honest, it was surprising. Then again, I wasn't there.
Police have a tough job, and I am a big supporter of the men and women in blue and brown. I was told to always respect law enforcement, and I always have. There was even one time that a Marion County Sheriff's Deputy was just flat out rude to me at an accident scene of a wreck I was involved in but I did not cause. I shut up and followed his directions even though I was angry to just be sitting at a stoplight and to be pulled into someone else's wreck. I let that Deputy do his job even though I felt he was being overly aggressive and unprofessional. I rationalized not filing a complaint because I didn't know what run he was on before he came to the accident scene.
My great grandfather (pictured in 1938 when he was a town marshall, I think), who died 11 years before I was born, was a member of the Indianapolis Police Department back in the early 20th Century. I have one of his badges and the sergeant emblem that went on his hat. Law enforcement officials, I respect and honor your service to this community.
I think many others in Indianapolis do the same. They understand that the actions of a couple of handfuls of people in your ranks do not, in general, represent the entirety of your force. That's why I think many are disgusted and appalled by what happened to Brandon Johnson (and Eric Wells and others), but they did not take those actions to the streets of Indianapolis.
I say, let's keep it that way.