South Bend Police tapes case denied by Indiana Supreme Court, city leaders react

NOW: South Bend Police tapes case denied by Indiana Supreme Court, city leaders react


SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- On Thursday the Indiana Supreme Court decided against hearing the latest appeal in the South Bend Police Department's tapes case. That leaves the South Bend Common Council to go to trial and try and force the recordings, most made illegally, to be made public.

It's a question that's been lingering for the last 12 years. . . what exactly was said on those tapes? Common Council member Henry Davis Jr. has been pushing for those answers for years.

“The public deserves, we all deserve answers, and the answers are obviously the tapes themselves being played," says Common Council member for the 2nd district, 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 legal battles have been fighting for the tapes to be released to the public.

“Let’s be honest, we don’t know what’s on the tapes. We have no clue," says Davis Jr. “What we do know is we’re spending time, and we’re spending money going back and forth to court with this.”

The conversations on the tapes allegedly include racist comments made by police officers.

“We’re talking about a history that could be supported by real-life stories that suggest that law enforcement hasn’t been as kind as it should’ve been," Davis Jr. explains.

City leaders believe the decade-long case can finally be put to rest after a trial is heard. 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 quickly as possible after over a decade and $2.2 million in litigation expenses, including attorneys and settlements. While we wait on the Court’s decision, we must join together and continue our work of building trust and making our city a fairer and safer place for everyone.

Now that the Indiana Supreme Court has decided to not hear the case, the final legal battle could be decided in Saint Joe County, where it all happened.

“It happened here in our environment, we paid for it here in our environment, and we are subjected to it here in our environment," says Davis Jr. "We deserve the outcome here in our environment.”

For city leaders like Davis Jr. who's seen the entire saga play out, there's new hope that the long battle may finally come to an end.

“It’s not a us against them scenario; it’s a scenario where we can come out stronger at the other end if this is done the right way," Davis Jr. says.

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