Braun: New police protocols, methods needed



U.S. Sen. Mike Braun is just as bothered as anyone else by the incident that has caused protests to break out all across the country.

He is also upset by the violence and looting that has happened, beyond the protests.

But the policing of those must be done locally, the legislator from Jasper said in a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

“I was glad the president came out, cited the fact that the underlying event was horrific and that we need to allow for peaceful protests,” Braun said. “But when it comes to law enforcement, I think that’s the responsibility of cities, towns and states. I’m fully confident that mayors within our larger cities across the country and governors can handle that.”

Protests have been happening all over the country after a video surfaced of a Minneapolis police officer holding down a black man with his knee on the man’s neck as the man pleaded with the officer. The man, George Floyd, died. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and eventually arrested for murder.

This is not the first incident in which a person of color was detained by police and ended up dying from the incident. And it is not the first time such an incident touched off protests, and eventually rioting and looting.

Braun thinks the underlying issues that build up to such incidents must be solved locally.

“To really solve the issue that’s underlying,” he said, “what caused all of this is law enforcement protocol, which the president didn’t really address.

“This repeats itself too often,” Braun added. “When it comes to the methods, the techniques, the protocols that involve all of these issues that have now boiled up into this, it’s a responsibility of the mayors, the governors and law enforcement across the country to figure out how to prevent it in the future.”

He is concerned the looting is taking the focus away from solving the problem. “The violence, the looting that has been co-opted by an element that goes way beyond peaceful protests,” Braun said. “I’m fully confident that the authorities that are in place can handle it. They just need to put more effort into it.”

Sending in the military is not something Braun supports. “I’m going to be for local law enforcement, state law enforcement and the National Guard. I think that’ll be plenty.”

But he thinks President Donald Trump was really trying to make a specific point.

“I think the president was making the point that we’ve got to do something to make sure that this whole issue doesn’t get co-opted by what we’ve seen on the streets of New York, or in almost every major city, including Indianapolis,” he said, “to where an element beyond peaceful protesters are out looting, [promoting] violence and all that stuff. It doesn’t hurt for the president to be making the general message that what we witnessed on TV takes away from trying to address the underlying concern that we all have, which it should have never happened in the first place.”

Braun also talked about the incident in which protesters were cleared from an area in Washington, D.C., so the president could visit St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bible in hand.

“I wasn’t in the particular trenches there, but I think that you can see the complications you get into when you talk about allowing the process of peaceful protesters. And when you want to do something that is going to be a conflict, that’s a little tougher to explain,” Braun said. “I believe that it makes it difficult when you’re talking about the underlying event being horrific and you do want to allow peaceful protests, and then you end up using tear gas. It makes it difficult to explain.”

Addressing the issues of police officers using excessive force on people and the many underlying racial issues must start at the local level, Braun said.

“It starts through law enforcement across the country,” he said, “that we quit repeating the same kind of incident that indicts the entirety of law enforcement, when I know that’s not the case. But until those solutions are put in place to prevent it from happening, this is the culmination of all of this over many years.”

Citizens can help heal the country by using their own voice.

“You need to raise your voice and talk about this,” Braun said. “We need to eliminate that from being what occurs in this country. Because I don’t think it’s representative of us, and I don’t think it’s systemic.

“When you look at how that happens, I don’t think the response needs to be crafted at the federal level,” he added. “Mayors and governors and law enforcement, in general, do such a great job day in and day out. But something like this occurs far too often. They’re gonna have to come up with new procedures and protocols that prevent it in the first place. Talk about that. Please, raise your voice and talk about it.”

More on