Bil Browning

Welcome to the neighborhood: Indy cop gets shot

Filed By Bil Browning | July 10, 2008 10:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics

I've been blogging repeatedly about the overwhelming crime problem plaguing my neighborhood. When our car was stolen or when the windows were smashed out, I knew crime was up all across the city. After having a gun stuck in my face on the front porch and a homicide a block away just a few weeks ago, I started altering my usual routine.

Over the past couple of weeks other neighbors have been robbed. One poor man has been broken into 5 times in the past 5 weeks. Our next door neighbor caught a stranger climbing in someone's window. Today, a few blocks from our home an Indianapolis police officer was shot in the head.


The man was in a car spotted in the 1400 block of Bosart Avenue, Thompson said. Undercover officers called for backup by uniformed officers, and shortly thereafter, the confrontation occurred.

The suspect, a 36-year-old man who had a female passenger in his car, stopped in the parking lot of the Kroger grocery store in the Linwood Square shopping center, 4445 E. 10th St., where he got out of the car and fled on foot, Thompson said.

Police chased him on foot south and then southeast, down Linwood Avenue, through the Linwood Court Apartments and toward Euclid Avenue. Gunfire was exchanged behind the apartments, Thompson said.

That's the Kroger I shop at regularly; that's my grocery store. This is my neighborhood, dammit.

3cops.jpgMy block had a dead hooker dropped off on the street. We've had at least ten burglaries this year.

One house is abandoned now. Another is empty after it's owners moved somewhere else - because of the crime rate.

Our neighbors down the street got caught in the aftermath of a shoot out when two wounded men staggered to their house bleeding and clutching guns. One of them died on the porch.

Family pets have been stolen from yards. Air conditioners have been scavenged for the copper tubing and some of us are having to chain down our units to keep them from walking off. Garages have been broken into.

I used to sit out on the front porch often and work on the site. If it was a nice day, I could sit out there and blog and enjoy the day. Now, I'm too afraid I'd be advertising that there's a computer in the house. The neighbor three doors down had their laptop stolen when they were robbed.

And after dark? There's no way I'm going out onto my own front porch. I got a pistol pointed at me the last time I did.

We don't have a TV in our front room so no one will see electronics if they peek in our windows from the porch or front of the house. We won't take the dogs out for a walk after dusk anymore. Every house on the block leaves the front porch light on all night every night to try and deter criminals.

We've adopted a boxer and a pit bull for their size and protection ability. I sleep with a club next to my bed.

It's enough to make me reconsider Abdul's suggestion.

Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears called Officer Jason A. Fishburn a hero and asked the community to pray for him.

He said Fishburn suffered a "devastating'' gunshot wound to the head and remained in surgery about 9:30 p.m. Fishburn, a five-year veteran of the department, is married and comes from a law enforcement family, the chief said. His father is an Indianapolis police officer and his uncle is a retired U.S. Marshal, Spears said.

"Officer Fishburn is our hero. Officer Fishburn was out here doing everything that the citizens of this city want from their police department,'' Spears said at a news conference at Wishard. He was flanked by Mayor Greg Ballard.

"I'm so proud of him,'' Spears said. "Please pray for Officer Jason Fishburn.''


My heartfelt prayers are with the young officer and his family. Officer Fishburn has taken a bullet to the head for my neighborhood, my block, my street. He helped to apprehend an alleged murderer a few short blocks from home. Prayers are the smallest thing I can offer him and his family.

Mayor Ballard wanted to be "in control" of the police force so he could solve our crime problem from last (election) year. So far, I see terrorized neighbors, abandoned houses and police officers being gunned down behind our only remaining grocery store.

But I sure as hell don't see the crime rate going down.

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Bil-I will repost my original comment to your previous post about this topic, since you seem to once again blame Mayor Ballard for this crime wave.

Bil, your anger is misplaced. Don't blame a mayor who has been in office for five months. There is only so much he can do. Blame the judges in this town who have been on the bench much longer and have a much greater impact on crime prevention. Both Democrat and Republican, they all share blame.

Don't believe everything you hear about our "overcrowded" system. If our system is so overcrowded, why did we have ship prisoners from Arizona? BECAUSE WE HAD TOO MUCH PRISON SPACE!!!

You think crime is taken seriously in this town? Go down and visit court sometime. Just make sure you blend in, because Judges act much differently if they know someone is watching them.

Go down to drug court, and see people convicted of A Felony Dealing in Cocaine or Meth cases get 2 years of probation.

Go down to any of the other major felony courts and see people with 30 years of criminal history get home detention (which is designed for beginning offenders to allow them to remain in the community and continue working) for the latest of their offenses.

See victims show up for court, testify at trial and sentencing, think the Judge has given the defendant a harsh sentence and sent to prison, and that they have gained a measure of justice. Come back a few months or a year later and look at the file and see that the Judge, oftentimes without even telling the Prosecutor, quietly modified the defendant's sentence when no one is looking.

See Judges read the riot act to defendants, and see the defendant pretend to take it seriously, but laugh on the inside because they know they can always get one more chance.

See Defendants pick up case after case after case, and get released again and again and again on their mere promise to behave.

See Judges set ridiciously low bonds, see Defendants post those bonds, and then not show up for court. See bondsmen then file motions asking to be released from the bond. The whole point of a bondsman is to produce the defendant if he fails to appear. The 10% cash the defendant gives him provides insurance and the funds to go fetch him. Having to pay the whole bond if you don't produce the defendant ensures you will keep your word to the court. Nice work if you can get it, huh, you get to keep the money and don't have to actually do the job you are paid to do. Take a stroll by all the bondsmen by the CCB. Look at their wanted pictures. See how many Hispanics are there. Do you think they are still in the area? Of course not-they went back to their home country. Why would any bondsmen guarantee the appearance of an illegal immigrant who can disappear at any time? Because they don't have to actually do any work or pay any money!

See Judges whine and cajole, trying to get the parties to either continue out or plead a jury, all so they don't have to do the biggest part of their job. A job they make $120,000 a year doing, and if they do it for 10 years, get a pension for life of half that amount.

See Judges who actually sentence people harshly get dealt with pretty quickly by the defense bar. See Judges who rely on the defense bar for campaign contribution and judicial survey ratings not want to do much to jeopardize their scores, their cushy 120k jobs, and their pension.

No, Bil, don't blame Mayor Ballard. The best police force in the world can arrest every criminal and solve every crime, but if justice is done and the criminals remain on the street, the cycle just continues.


Okay - so I've found someone to blame and you want to place the blame elsewhere. That's fine. But what's the solution, because our neighborhood has gone fucking crazy.

It's not an easy solution, but I can think of the easiest way. Start making public the wretched sentences these judges are giving out. That will change some things.

Also, the fact the parties rigged the slating conventions to make it so no one will gets knocked off the ballot in November doesn't help. Now, Tim Oakes, who tipped his dad off that he was the target of a search warrant when he was a deputy prosecutor, is going to be a judge because he raised 60k for the Republicans. The way they have their fiefdom set up now, no one has to directly face the voters unless someone dares run against the slate. That is why myself and dozens of other people I talked to voted for Kim Brown, who was the only one with the courage to run against the slate. It's too bad the party elite will just say she got elected because she was at the top of the ballot.

Now, I am not saying there are plenty of things to blame Ballard for. But I will say that speaking from the inside, I see a much improved police force, I see higher morale, and I see the clearing out of some of the riffraff from the force, making it more streamlined and responsive. It will take some time, but it will get there. Crime waves don't happen overnight, and I think Ballard will manage, if he keeps appointing the right people (Scott Newman is doing a great job), manage to get a hold on this.

I blame Ballard because he's the guy in charge. It's not getting better, it's getting worse. I do not particularly care for not feeling safe in my own home. You have 2 dead bodies show up on your block and then have 2 more homicides within 8 blocks of your house and have a gun shoved in your face and let's see if you're not demanding some fucking answers too.

That's not even mentioning the theft, burglary, prostitution, and drug crime that has also skyrocketed.

This shit has to stop and I don't give a rats ass about excuses. Ballard ran on crime and taxes. What has really changed? The crime has gotten worse and the taxes are the same.

Jerame, I am demanding answers. I am tired of excuses as well. Sadly, the people in a best position to provide those answers get elected to jobs that involve putting criminals in prison, but don't want to seem to want to do that.

I think SOME crime is getting better. I think some crime is also getting worse. The statistics seem to be bearing this out. What is disturbing me is the particular crimes that are getting worse. I have not been a witness to crime trends for as long as some, but even I notice the pattern. What I just simply refer to as the "brazen" crimes are skyrocketing. Crimes that criminals would not normally do in the past, they are doing. Various reasons for that, including the fact that a lot of the shame of being a criminal is gone.

But I ask you to look at the criminals. There are two types of criminals. First, there are the ones who are like you and I, who had an solitary brush with the law for a minor event, learn their lesson, and move on. Then, there are those that for whatever reason, will continue to commit crimes. The police can arrest them reactively, but there is not much prevention to be done on thier part. The prevention in a city as large as ours is only really accomplished by putting them in prison. If we simply release them from jail on a promise to appear so we can say there is no longer jail overcrowding, they will quickly return to committing crimes. If we release people who have multiple convictions and multiple prior chances at rehabilitation back into the community so "they can turn their life around," they will be back committing crimes.

I would blame Ballard for the inability of police to solve crimes, of not arresting people when they have proof of their guilt, and for shoddy investigative police work. If they get the criminals to the jail, after that, it is up to the Prosecutor's Office and the Courts to do the right thing.

Finally, please keep your comments regarding how tired you are about the prostitution and drug crimes in your neighborhood in mind the next time someone around you talks about how these crimes are "victimless." I can also assure you the thefts and burglaries are directly related to the drug use.

Yur doin a heck of a job!

A.J. Lopp | July 18, 2008 2:39 AM

I'm so horrified to read this.

Last October I was driving east on New York Street and a guy pulled out in front of me at Temple. In short, my car was totaled.

I remember how helpful the two young IMPD officers were, and I remember taking note of the names on their badges. And I just got out my copy of the police report to see if my memory was correct.

It was. One of the officers was a J. Fishburn.

I'm so horrified to read this.