Sharpton: Johnson Case Isn't Over
Civil Rights Advocate Plans To Set Up Shop In Indianapolis
Last Updated: 943 days ago
The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke to a packed crowd at Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis Wednesday night, addressing a recent controversial decision to clear an officer accused of beating a biracial teenager.Brandon Johnson, 15, was in the crowd to hear Sharpton's words, part of a "Together We Stand" community rally, 6News' Dan Spehler reported.Sharpton last visited Indianapolis in July in the wake of the initial outrage, particularly in the in the African-American community, over Johnson's arrest and the injuries he claimed to have received during that arrest."The main reason I came tonight is I promised Brandon that no matter what happened, I would be back to stand with him," Sharpton said.Earlier this month, Officer Jerry Piland was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Indianapolis Police Civilian Merit Board and reinstated on the force.Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Paul Ciesielski had recommended Piland be fired after claiming that he used excessive force in Johnson's arrest, which happened as the boy protested the arrest of his brother. Charges were not filed against Johnson."I felt what he was saying we need a change in our police force, and I definitely do agree with that," said Lisa Offutt, who attended the rally.Indianapolis public safety officials have also taken heat in recent days with the release of an internal police investigation that showed no indications of a cover-up in the case of Officer David Bisard, who police said was driving drunk when he struck three motorcyclists, killing one and severely injuring two others."What's all the hoopla and ... noise about Brandon Johnson and the issue about the accident with the motorcycle?" said the Rev. Stephen Clay, head of the Baptist Ministers Alliance. "Well, public safety is not a black or white issue. Public safety is a human issue.""There was no crime committed," Sharpton said, referring to Johnson's actions. "They investigated it. He did no wrong, and for him to walk away with those bruises and nobody pay for it is something we are not going to walk away from."Sharpton said he plans to lead an appeal of the case to the U.S. Department of Justice and that he also plans to form an Indianapolis chapter of his National Action Network."Your disturbing pattern here deserves national focus," Sharpton said. "So I'm intending to invest a lot of time and effort here."