Activist group calls for Allen County Prosecutor to step down

Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards discusses the investigation into a police action shooting on December 1, 2017.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) –  A local advocacy group is calling for Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards to resign. The group is called ‘Flip This City.’ It is comprised of members who have been touched by violent crime in some way.

They have been pushing for for more action on the part of prosecutors and police to help combat violent crime.

In an announcement this morning the group called on Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards to resign, saying she hasn’t taken enough cases to trial.

The mission of the group is to find justice for families of the victims and to curb the violence in Fort Wayne. They believe that starts with Richards.

“We have already made it clear we want the prosecutor replaced,” said Tennille Walker-Bright who helped create the group. “What we are saying now on behalf of all homicide victims who have not received justice, and all of the community who stands with us… we want her to step down now.”

The group realizes that she may not comply with their demands. However, the are looking at other ways to get her out of office.

“We still hope to put forth a candidate at some point in the future,” said Stacey Davis of the group Flip this City. “We’re talking to people, we’re trying to find that perfect candidate that will win against her.”

In a news conference this afternoon Richards fired back, saying she won’t back down.

“I have never backed down from a fight and I’m certainly not going to start now,” she said.

Richards, backed by members of of the Prosecutor’s Office and law enforcement, defended herself against the group’s claims. She said she has met with many victims and families over the years – including the members of this activist group.

Richards blames the lack of homicide convictions on a “snitching code.” She said, until the community stands behind police, we will be in the same place.

“I don’t think you should equate not liking the answer with not fulfilling my obligation.” said Richards. “You know if you want to talk with me call me. Everybody knows how to call the Prosecutor’s Office. It’s not hard to get through.”

However, that is exactly what the group is saying.They want the Prosecutor’s Office to be more proactive.

“She has met with a few families over this month,” said Davis. “But we believe that is just reactionary to our voice.”

The group said they believe Richards has violated an Indiana Code that protects victims of violent crimes. They say many family members have complained about not being heard and said this is an issue that is blatantly being ignored.

They said this directly correlates with the following statutes:

35-40-5-1 : Right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect
35-40-5-3 : Right to confer with the prosecuting attorney’s office
35-40-5-4 : Consideration of victim’s safety
35-40-6-2 : Victims be treated with dignity
35-40-6-4 : Victim assistance program; purposes
Allen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander said many of these statutes only apply to post conviction. However, he said their office makes an effort to work with victims and the families throughout the entire process.
Flip This City will hold a community meeting on Saturday at the Summit on Rudisill at 12 p.m. The group’s leaders said they will continue to hold events and remain active on social media outlets to continue to raise awareness for their cause.