In November 2019, police in the Gary, Indiana, shot and killed 82-year-old Melvin Bowler outside an apartment complex for refusing to follow their orders, according to police.
On November 15, 2019, at approximately 5:30 pm local time, the Gary Police Department received a report of an armed man. Melvin Bowler, 82, was sitting in a car in front of an apartment complex when police arrived. Witnesses said they heard an altercation between a man and a woman shortly before the police arrived. Bowler was given several commands before the officer pulled out his gun and shot Bowler, police said. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he spent more than a month before dying from his injuries.
The family of the deceased claims that he did not hear well and does not believe that he was trying to violate the police order. “This incident was not typical for my father. He didn’t threaten anyone,” said Eric Bowler, Melvin’s son.
The activists and the Bowler family are now demanding answers. In March 2021, the Bowler family sued the city of Gary, the chief of police and officers involved in the shooting, claiming that he had died inappropriately and that the police had violated constitutional and civil rights. Gary authorities declined to comment on the upcoming trial, and the police department did not comment.