Sikh Coalition ‘disappointed’ with law enforcement findings on Indianapolis killings

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Members of the Sikh community gather in mourning in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Four Sikhs were among the victims of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility nearby the day before. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Megan Jelinger

The Sikh Coalition, an advocacy organization to protect the rights of Sikhs and raise awareness about the culture, expressed disappointment with the findings of investigators looking into the motives of the April 15, 2021 shooting at a Fedex facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, where 8 people were massacred, among them Sikhs.

On July 28, the Indianapolis Metro Police Department (IMPD) and other law enforcement agencies held a press conference to announce the conclusion of their investigation into the deadly shooting.

Per IMPD Deputy Chief Craig McCartt, the investigation has reviewed “every piece of information available;” according to FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, the authorities have determined that this shooting was “an act of suicidal murder” not driven by any particular ideology, noted the Sikh Coalition in a press release.

Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur, however, expressed disappointment about the findings and criticized the investigation for allegedly not being transparent enough.

“For months, we have asked local and federal law enforcement for a thorough and transparent investigation of this horrific attack–including their best effort to attempt to understand the shooter’s motive. While we recognize that it is impossible to know exactly what was in the shooter’s mind, we are disappointed that the IMPD and FBI still have not detailed how they ruled out bias as a possible motive in their accounting of the investigation,” Kaur said in a statement.

“The shooter chose a place known for hiring people of color, specifically a Punjabi Sikh-majority, for his attack; we don’t know why he chose this location, but we now know the attack was planned at least nine months in advance,” Kaur went on to say.

“It was also previously reported that IMPD officers knew of white nationalist content on the shooter’s computer during their investigation of his home a year before the shooting, yet this went unaddressed in the press conference until a reporter asked about it; SAIC Keenan recognized that an ‘extremely small percentage’ of the content found on the shooter’s computer dealt with World War II and Nazi-related content, but rather than address the obvious interest in that ideology, he said there ‘was no indication of any animosity against the Sikh community or any other community,” Kaur quoted investigators saying.

“To reiterate, we are not dismissing that mental health issues nor the toxic masculinity discussed during the press conference played a role in this attack. But it is important to recognize that bias can be a factor in addition to these other issues,” Kaur contended, adding, “We still believe that the IMPD and FBI could have provided more information about how and why they ruled bias out, and been far more forthcoming and transparent about relevant details during this press conference and throughout the course of their investigation,” Kaur said.

“Though law enforcement has said this investigation is over, for all the families who lost loved ones, the survivors, the Sikh community, and anyone else impacted by hate violence, these questions will remain forever,” Kaur said.

The Sikh Coalition said it “remains committed to supporting the Indianapolis Sikh community, including by way of providing access to survivor resources and representing a number of clients who have retained our legal service.”

 

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