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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metro Police Department has been on the receiving end of the ire of many groups of people over the last few months.

Between the shooting death of Dreasjon Reed, riots and protests, and a viral video of officers using what many say is excessive force on a woman during those riots and protests, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor tells WISH-TV it’s certainly been challenging.

The department has been sued by the ACLU over the use of tear gas and pepper balls of rioters and protesters in downtown Indy in late May. The federal lawsuit says the use of tear gas and pepper balls to disperse large crowds violates the First Amendment and thus should be removed from the department’s arsenal.

Taylor is standing by most of the actions taken by his officers the night of the riots.

“I think you have the right to protest, the right to be heard,” Taylor said. “But, if you’re going to start throwing things at my officers and tearing up downtown, well, we have to take some kind of action to stop that.”

Taylor said he is open to an alternative to tear gas if it is just as effective in dispersing an unruly crowd without causing any ill effects to bystanders.

“If there is a different alternative, I will certainly look at it,” he continued. “But, I think people also need to understand we can’t just let things get tore up. Businesses in downtown have the right to do business and shouldn’t have to worry about windows being tore out and those sort of things.”

Taylor said misinformation is one of the toughest things they’ve been battling these last few months; misinformation about incidents involving officers firing their weapons, their use of tear gas, and other means to maintain order during these tense times.

“Whether it’s dealing with protests or officer-involved shootings, I would say like I said in the beginning, I know it’s hard, but wait until you have all the information before you make up your mind on what you think happened,” said Taylor.

“People get in their mind, ‘well that must be what happened because that’s what I heard’,” he added. “Don’t be so sure of that. People sometimes think we have nothing to hide. We have nothing to hide.”