Updated with NEW information. Afternoons with Amos has learned that recent media reports criticizing a local church as the “sponsor” of event where an IMPD officer was embroiled in a fake fight were totally wrong! WRTV/Channel 6 first reported over the weekend an incident where IMPD Sgt. Matthew Grimes was injured during a staged fight between two teens at an event at the Municipal Gardens, an Indy Parks facility on the Westside.
The station, and subsequent reports on WISH-TV/Channel 8 reported that the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church sponsored the event. Church officials have vehemently denied that. Afternoons with Amos asked Indy Parks for the rental agreements for the July 24th event. When told there were no such agreements, AWA then asked who sponsored the event. Jennifer McIlreay, spokeswoman for Indy Parks told AWA that “the event was part of an Indy Parks program called the Eric Gordon Summer Basketball League which helps at-risk children and teenagers ages 7 -18 learn valuable life skills and play basketball with their peers”.
Maura Leon-Barber, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety denied that her agency and the Indianapolis Metro Police Department that they told the media the event was a church event. “We did not say it was a church event – the media did”, said Leon-Barber. “The Director of Public Safety never made a mention of a minister or that this event was a church sponsored event”, Leon Barber continued.
The Indianapolis Star and WTHR/Channel 13 told Afternoons with Amos that their reports indentified the event as an Indy Parks event. Though the Star’s story continued to imply church involvement by asking for comment from church officials. Jack Rinehart, the WRTV/Channel 6 reporter who broke the story said that his on air report did not say it was a church event. But Rinehart acknowledged that the report on the story on Channel 6’s website, theindychannel.com DID specifically say it was an event before “a church audience”.
Channels 8 and 59 have yet to respond to requests for comment from Afternoons with Amos.
BOTTOM LINE? Mt. Vernon Church was NOT the sponsor! Will local media, correct THEIR error and negative aspersion on a respected local Indianapolis church?