Indiana, a favored state for U.S. Vice Presidents and lack of accountability?

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

"Elkhart’s mayor, Tim Neese, asked the Indiana State Police for a 'very thorough and far-reaching' investigation of his police department. But the state police turned him down, so he asked the Justice Department for help. His timing could hardly have been worse."

On December 1, 2018, Christian Sheckler and Ken Armstrong, reporters who have covered the police department in Elkhart, Indiana, wrote for the New York Times, "Who Will Now Police the Police? The Justice Department’s retreat from taking on abuses by local law enforcement will impede reform." The article suggests appropriate police accountability in America was a high priority for the Obama Administration, and is a low priority for the Trump Administration. "It's not quite that simple", according to our own Dr. Zena Crenshaw-Logal who helps administer Golden Badge, a law enforcement whistleblower support group. She says, "U.S. law enforcement whistleblowers were readily persecuted on former President Obama's watch and, so far, President Trump's support of U.S. law enforcement officers has not clearly extended to the whistleblowers among them. Neither stance is consistent with a presidential commitment to appropriate police accountability in America."

But our emphasis here is on Indiana, home state of former Vice President Dan Quayle and current Vice President Mike Pence; the difficulty of even an Indiana mayor to secure investigation of his own police department; and the corresponding prospect of Indiana state and federal prosecutors investigating the apparent persecution of Human Rights Defenders featured in our debut episode of The Face of Vulnerability. Apparently, Indiana is a favored state for U.S. Vice Presidents and lack of accountability.

The more important point is that variation in accountability for criminal conduct in America is troubling to say the least. Consider that "(a) divided Illinois Appellate Court panel on Tuesday upheld a 10-year prison sentence to an addicted homeless man who had robbed $33 of underwear from a Family Dollar Store in 2015." Surely our holiday eggnog goes down a little less smoothly given the disparities that plague criminal law enforcement in America. It's not that the inequity is new; what's arguably more problematic is that in 2018, combating the injustice is so perilous, hence our video series on the plight of Human Rights Defenders in America.

Kindly consider how you can be part of the solution this International Anti-Corruption Day: Click here to learn more.

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