Local teens to sit down with Indy's top cop

Posted at 12:32 PM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 18:24:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dozens of African American teenagers will have an opportunity Friday that many adults aren't even given -- a sit-down with Indy's top cop.

Between 7-8:30 p.m. Friday at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Troy Riggs is setting aside time to listen to what the city's youth have to say.

This conversation between teens and Riggs is coming at a time where public perception of police isn't always popular -- partially due to officer-involved shootings of unarmed black men across the country.

"Let them say for themselves how they feel about Ferguson," said Charity Lewis. "How they feel about Baltimore? How do they feel about things that happen locally in their neighborhoods."

Lewis is the program director for the Youth Action Council, an offset of the organization that birthed the idea to put the department's chief in the same room with young African Americans. 

"To me, conversation, communication is where it starts," she said. "That's what lacking and that's what's missing."

Lewis hopes the kids aren't the only ones who walk away on Friday with a newfound understanding.

"[I hope] Riggs is able to hear our children out," Lewis said. "When he sits down to make decisions and carry those out, he'll be able to hear their voices in his heart and in his mind."

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