(INDIANAPOLIS) — Governor Holcomb says National Guard troops will remain ready to help local police on a day-by-day basis.
Guard troops have deployed in Fort Wayne, and began protecting the statehouse and state-owned monuments after Saturday night’s vandalism. Holcomb says the state doesn’t have to wait for local leaders to ask for assistance, but is deferring to cities’ understanding of their local situation. He says he and State Police are staying in regular touch with mayors and police chiefs across the state.
Holcomb says the peaceful protests across Indiana represent a “noble cause” — not just highlighting the injustice of George Floyd’s death, but to push for change. He says the violence that’s replaced those marches at nightfall is another story. He calls the rioters well-organized militants bent on “chaos and destruction,” who have “hijacked” protesters’ message.
State Police Superintendent Doug Carter says he takes no pleasure in the use of tear gas Saturday night to break up protests near the statehouse. He vows troopers won’t use tear gas against lawful protests. But he says the crowd ignored orders to disperse, and says there has to be a point where “enough is enough.”
Holcomb says he didn’t need protests or riots to draw his attention to racial inequities — he says he was already working on those issues, pointing to last year’s passage of a hate-crimes law, and an unsuccessful push this year for workplace accommodations for pregnant women, an issue he vows to return to if he’s reelected. The governor says Indiana also needs to improve minority access to health care and bring more capital into urban areas.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) responds Republican legislators killed the pregnancy bill, and says the hate crime bill is inadequate, because of a catch-all clause expanding it beyond traditional targets to cover discrimination on any basis. And he says Republicans have refused to require bias training for all police officers.