Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb today said he would move to ensure the safety of Hoosiers and their property by making available resources to Indiana communities.
Holcomb said protests that took place in Indianapolis and in other communities across the state and nation during the weekend were an “understandable and needed response to the disgusting, gross, violent and fatal injustice against Mr. George Floyd,” but he also said the protests have “turned into anything but a proper time of mourning.”
The protests came in response to George Floyd, a black 46-year-old man, dying in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
In the following days, innumerable U.S. citizens have gathered in dozens of cities to protest the death of George Floyd. Protests have occurred in several Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, and more. In Indianapolis, peaceful protests gave way to violent riots Saturday night. Business windows were shattered. Public monuments were defaced, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. reported two deaths.
On Sunday, Holcomb signed an executive order lifting restrictions on local declarations of emergency that had been instituted as a part of the stay-at-home and back-on-track orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order allows local governments to place more stringent travel restrictions than the state has in place.
It also directed members of the Indiana National Guard to be on standby to assist communities across the state, if requested.
Holcomb verbally activated the Indiana National Guard Reactionary Force company to be available to assist local communities Saturday, the most violent night of protests in Indianapolis so far; however, no deployment was requested. Several hundred guard members remain on standby, according to the governor’s office.
The executive order also ordered members of the guard, with support from the Indiana State Police, to establish a presence at state properties in Indianapolis to protect them from further damage.
On Sunday, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett enacted a countywide curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Violators of the curfew were subject to arrest. A curfew was again set for tonight at 8 p.m. in Marion County.
“Peacefully protesting and demonstrating for this cause is a noble one, rightly protected by our first amendment,” Holcomb said during a press conference. “In fact, I hope the peacemakers continue to express themselves and not allow their message to be overwhelmed by the troublemakers seeking to administer pain on the innocent. Make no mistake about it: No citizen has a right to destroy, vandalize or threaten another Hoosiers safety or property. Coordinated efforts to unlawfully breaking in and entering, shooting at law enforcement officials and setting fires has taken on a tone of organized crime and will be responded to accordingly.”
ISP Supt. Doug Carter said state police would deploy any and all resources during the protests to ensure public safety. He also expressed a desire, during a press conference, to hold himself and other police officials more accountable: “We are not without sin,” Carter said.
As of press time, county officials in Boone and Hamilton counties said they had not implemented any additional travel restrictions in response to the executive order.