INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Rick Hite met Friday morning with community and church leaders concerned about policy changes regarding children at Castleton Square Mall.
Church leaders called for the meeting to address concerns about a new strategy for keeping the peace this weekend at the mall on the city's north side.
Police met earlier this week with mall officials to discuss a plan for dealing with problems last weekend that included two fights and four arrests, one involving a juvenile with a handgun.
Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, said it would hand out letters this weekend urging parents not to drop off children at the mall unsupervised.
The letter warns that anyone violating the rules of common courtesy and the law will be subject to ejection or arrest.
Mall officials said they plan to disperse groups of four or more juveniles and that juveniles who are loud, swearing or disrupting the peace would also be dispersed.
Those changes gave rise to concerns of racial profiling of black teens at the mall.
"Those of us who are downtown normally when white kids are coming in in large numbers, the security are not approaching them the way they do when a large number of black kids come in," said the Rev. Charles Harrison, of the Ten Point Coalition. "We already see it. It's already being done, and we don't want that to be done in Castleton."
Simon officials expressed their sensitivity to the race issue and emphasized the new policy is situational.
Indianapolis police said there will be an increased presence downtown and at Castleton this weekend but stressed that officers will enforce the law, not mall policy.
"My concern is not using our police officer to not enforce the rules," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite. "We're here to enforce the laws. In other words, our job is to see that people are treated fairly and impartially and, more important, that we're not violating someone's civil rights."