Police, Black Expo Plan Show Of Force

Officers To Clog Downtown For Summer Celebration

Indiana Black Expo and Indianapolis police plan a dramatic show of force this weekend for Summer Celebration downtown.

Police and expo officials outlined safety and security plans as they try to avoid a repeat of last year's event, where several people were shot.

Hundreds of uniformed and plainclothes officers are expected to blanket downtown over the weekend, but police declined to release an exact number of officers involved, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

The Marion County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police and Capitol Police will supplement IMPD's involvement.

The Ten-Point Coalition said it will have 300 volunteers serving as eyes and ears on the street to alert police to potential trouble.

Three shootings were connected to last year's event, highlighted by a gang-related mass shooting in which several people were injured.

Police said they plan to personally contact up to 70 known gang members before this weekend's event, telling them not to come downtown.

"I'm not going to play. There are some gang members that come down here, and we have an initiative going on right now to notify those gang members at home," said Indianapolis police Deputy Chief Bill Benjamin. "Do not come downtown. We know who you are. We have your photo."

Officers said they will strictly enforce curfew laws. Children age 15 or younger are not permitted out without parental supervision past 11 p.m. The curfew is 1 a.m. for teens age 16 and 17. Violators will be taken to the Marion County Juvenile Detention facility.

"We're not going to tolerate gang signs, chanting. We're not going to let young guys follow young girls around and antagonize them. It's not going to happen," Benjamin said.

Police encouraged attendees to text information about suspicious activity or bad behavior to 317-308-0147, reporting the location so that officers can respond.

The Rev. Charles Harrison with the Ten-Point Coalition said he believes it will be a different atmosphere downtown this weekend.

"I think the kids are beginning to get the message," he said. "As a community, we're saying this is just not going to be tolerated as a community."

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