Faith in Indiana wants more input on police use of force

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 5:58 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A group is speaking out for more improvements to be made to the draft of Mayor Mueller’s South Bend Police use of force policy.

We’re looking at how that policy has developed over time, recent changes that were made, and criticism from the community that more work needs to be done.

Over the past couple months, some changes were added to the use of force draft, but some in South Bend believe there is more work to be done.

“We cannot afford to lose another black man, another black mother, a father, or even a daughter, Pastor Claval Hunter with Faith in Indiana says. He is also with Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church.

On Thursday, Members of Faith in Indiana in St. Joseph County spoke to the press, calling for more input from the public on the Mayor James Mueller’s use of force policy for police.

“Our community needs a policy that has a clear and high threshold for the use of deadly force,” Pastor Hunter says.

In January, several changes were made to the draft policy. The latest version posted on the city’s website.

Language was changed to the deadly force section, as just one example of how the document has changed over time. This is the section about an officer being in imminent danger without the suspect pointing a weapon at the officer. This section was changed from “capable of causing injury or death” to say the suspect must be “attempting to cause serious bodily injury or death”. This seems to create a less-vague situation for deadly force to be used. Faith in Indiana is looking for more change.

“We are urging the Board of Public Safety, at next Wednesday’s meeting, to send the policy back to the mayor,” Pastor Hunter says.

Faith in Indiana members say they want to meet with the mayor to make sure black lives are protected and that if deadly force is used, officers exhaust every other possible option.

“We are ready to work with our mayor on the final details so that we have a policy, once again, that the community can be proud of that leads the way in Indiana and our nation, let’s do this,” Pastor Hunter adds.

The Board of Public safety is set to meet on Wednesday the 17th. As for what is planned for the use of force policy, whether they vote to adopt the policy or make changes, remains to be seen.

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