South Bend, IN — Today, the Board of Public Safety unanimously approved revisions to the Police Departments Use-of-Force Policy. Celebrating a long overdue community victory which comes after two-years of policy discussions, town hall meetings, and direct actions, spanning two Mayoral administrations in the wake of murders of Eric Logan, George Floyd, and Rodney Applewhite, the St. Joseph County Chapter of Faith in Indiana released the following response:
“Most of us believe that the people sworn to serve and protect us should respect our rights, treat all as equals, and ensure we can make it home safe to our loved ones. Today, we are a significant step closer to that goal,” said Pastor Claval Hunter, Faith in Indiana Pastor of Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church, who worked closely with Mayor Mueller to ensure community priorities were reflected in the final policy.
“For far too long politicians have forced us to live in fear by looking the other way when Black people are harmed and killed by police. By making our voices heard, we ensured the policy adopted today has a clear and high threshold for deadly force, prioritizes de-escalation in all interactions, and requires officers to intervene to stop excessive use of force,” said Alfred Guillaume, Jr. Faith in Indiana leader at St. Augustine Catholic Church, “We thank Mayor Mueller and the Board of Public Safety for partnering with the community to enact these significant reforms.”
“Today’s vote demonstrates, we the people, have the power to rewrite the rules to make South Bend a place where all of our children have the chance to grow up and all of our people have the chance to grow old” said Jeff Walker, Faith in Indiana leader and Executive Director of the Beacon Resource Center “Like we ensured this policy prioritizes de-escalation in all interactions, we look forward to working with Mayor Mueller and SBPD to put in place ongoing training so our law enforcement officers can embody these values.”
Faith in Indiana is a vehicle for faith communities and people of good will to work together for racial and economic equity in Indiana.