SOUTH BEND, Indiana — On Thursday, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled against hearing the final appeal in the South Bend Police Department records case. So the South Bend Common Council has to go to court and try to force the release of the mostly illegal recordings.
This question has occupied us for 12 years. . . What exactly was said on these tapes? Common Council member Henry Davis Jr. has been pushing for these answers for years.
“The public deserves, we all deserve answers, and the answers are obviously the tapes themselves that are being played,” says 2nd Circuit Common Council member Henry Davis Jr.
The tapes in question are recordings of allegedly inappropriate, unethical and possibly criminal conversations between South Bend police officers a decade ago. Ongoing litigation has fought to have the tapes released to the public.
“Let’s be honest, we don’t know what’s on the tapes. We have no idea,” says Davis Jr. “What we do know is that we’re spending time and money going to court with this.”
The conversations on the tapes allegedly contain racist remarks by police officers.
“We’re talking about a story that could be supported by real-life stories that suggest law enforcement hasn’t been as kind as it should have been,” Davis Jr. explains.
City leaders believe the decades-long case can finally be settled after hearing a trial. Even South Bend Mayor James Mueller, who was not mayor at the time, agrees, telling ABC57 in a statement:
I hope the court finally resolves this matter as soon as possible after over a decade and $2.2 million in litigation costs, including attorneys and settlements. As we await the court’s decision, we must unite and continue our work to build trust and make our city a fairer and safer place for all.
After the Indiana Supreme Court decided not to hear the case, the final legal battle could be decided in Saint Joe County, where it all happened.
“It happened in our community, we paid for it in our community, and we are exposed to it in our community,” says Davis Jr. “We deserve the outcome in our community.”
For city leaders like Davis Jr., who have lived through the entire saga, there is renewed hope that the long struggle may finally be coming to an end.
“It’s not an us-versus-them scenario; It’s a scenario where we can come out stronger on the other end if done right,” says Davis Jr.