Carmel mayor explains decision to implement curfew

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The start time for the Solidarity Vigil in Carmel has been moved to 7:30 p.m. June 3. It will take place inside the fire bay at the Carmel Fire Dept. headquarters at 2 Civic Square because of the threat of storms.

Mayor Jim Brainard

Mayor Jim Brainard

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said his decision to implement a 9 p.m. curfew indefinitely was a result of recent rioting and a curfew in Indianapolis, threats made against Carmel on social media and insight from the Carmel Police Dept.

Brainard explained his reasoning during the June 3 virtual meeting of the Reconnecting Carmel Task Force, which exists to guide the city’s reopening plans through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brainard put the curfew in effect June 2 after riots and looting occurred over several nights in Indianapolis beginning May 29. The incidents occurred after primarily peaceful demonstrations against the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Dept. Indianapolis instituted an 8 p.m. curfew beginning May 31.

“(Indianapolis) chose to take a very soft approach to it in my opinion and it got much worse Saturday night,” Brainard said during the meeting. “It’s the balance between protecting everyone’s right to demonstrate but not allowing violence and looting and burning. Three people were killed in Indianapolis. We’re not going to permit that in Carmel.”

Brainard said he hadn’t yet decided if the curfew will remain in effect June 3 or beyond. He is planning to meet with police today to make a determination.

Brainard said he has quadrupled the number of police on duty in Carmel. The only incident believed to be related to the riots reported in Carmel was the smashing of windows at Kohl’s at 9895 N. Michigan Rd.

However, with broken windows reported near Keystone at the Crossing and in the Castleton areas in north Indianapolis, Brainard wants to ensure the vandalism doesn’t move into Carmel.

“Neither the police chief nor I wanted to do a curfew, but with Indianapolis having one and Carmel not, and Carmel being the target because of our wealth and position within the state, there was a lot of thought that people who wanted to do damage would come here since they couldn’t legally be on the streets of Indianapolis,” Brainard said. “The police needed that tool to be able to keep it safe last night in their judgment.”

Protests in Carmel have remained peaceful so far. Another protest is planned for 5 p.m. June 3 in the Arts & Design Disrict.

The city is holding a vigil to show support for those who have suffered unjustly at 7 p.m. June 3 at the Carmel Fire Dept. headquarters at 2 Civic Square. Speakers will include Brainard, CPD Police Chief Jim Barlow and the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Human Relations member Dee Thornton. The event is open to the public, and attendees will be asked to practice physical distancing.

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