Melvin Bouler

Black Lives Matters Gary moves the needle on investigation of police-involved shooting

Contributed By:The 411 News

Lake County Prosecutor asks for grand jury in 2019 shooting of Melvin Bouler

After a year of asking Gary’s mayor, city council, and police department for answers, Black Lives Matters Gary has helped move the needle on an investigation into the shooting of Melvin Bouler by Gary policemen on November 17, 2019.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter issued a statement yesterday, Monday afternoon, his office will petition the Lake County Superior Court to convene a grand jury into the officer-involved shooting.

According to the NWI Times, Bouler’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Gary Police Dept.

Prosecutor Carter wrote, “Once the petition is approved, it will take approximately six to eight weeks to convene and select the grand jury. Once the grand jury is selected, approximately one week later, witnesses will be called to testify. It may take multiple sessions before a decision is made by the grand jury.”

Black Lives Matter did follow the advice of Gary city council attorney Rinzer Williams to seek answers from Lake County officials. Williams said Gary Police don’t investigate their own officers and the city council had no authority. Those matters are handled by outside law enforcement agencies, Williams said.

The Gary Police Dept. asked the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to handle the investigation.

Only days earlier to the Carter statement, BLM Gary announced a press conference would be held on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at the county government building to demand accountability from the office of Prosecutor Carter. Lawyers for the Bouler family, attorneys Robert L. Beeman, II and Roderick T. Cooks will join the press conference.

Bouler, age 82 and a Gary resident, died 2 months later on January 4, 2020 in a Chicago hospital after being transferred from Gary’s Methodist Hospital.

Family members immediately questioned the shooting, considering Bouler’s age and that he was hard of hearing. There were some early reports that intoxication may also have been a factor.

On the November date, Gary Police responded to a caller from the Small Farms Apartment complex, in the 2400 block of Roosevelt Street. The caller said a man with a gun wouldn’t leave their apartment. When police arrived to the parking area of the caller’s address, they encountered Bouler in a vehicle.

News reports of the shooting tell of police officers asking Bouler to exit the vehicle. Officers saw a firearm and when Bouler didn’t comply, he was struck by shots fired from officers through the vehicle’s front windshield. Police fired 10 shots into Bouler’s vehicle.

Co-organizer for BLMGary, Kim McGee said in a statement, “The purpose of being at the Lake County Government Center is to demand accountability and justice from Attorney Carter’s office. We want answers on the Melvin Bouler case because it has been over a year since he was killed by two unnamed Gary policemen. We also want answers on how police killings are handled, the role of a Grand Jury and the length of time it takes for resolution. He has not responded to our requests and so we will go to the Government Center to make our voices heard.”

Wednesday’s press conference at the county building is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Story Posted:04/06/2021

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