Shabazz stands by ‘self-cleaning oven’ column as he launches mayoral campaign

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz filed to run as a Republican for mayor of Indianapolis on Thursday morning, but the new candidate is already receiving backlash for a controversial approach he has proposed for dealing with the city’s crime.

Longtime political pundit Shabazz filed to his paperwork about 11 a.m. after mulling the decision since about late September. In an interview shortly afterward at the City-County Building, Shabazz stood by a controversial column in which he proposed that the city let “bad guys” commit homicide against each other as a way to rid the city of criminals.

Earlier Thursday, minutes after Shabazz announced his candidacy on WIBC-FM 93.1’s “Kendall & Casey Show,” the Marion County Democratic Party sent out a statement condemning the candidate as “vulgar.” It included a 2015 column for the Indianapolis Recorder in which Shabazz said an increase in crime would make the city a “self-cleaning oven” because “bad guys” will “take each other out of the gene pool.” 

Shabazz said Thursday that “public safety, public works and public trust will be the three cornerstones of my campaign.” He said stands by the eight-year-old column and is OK with homicides in Indianapolis if the victims are “bad guys.”

“The bad guys want to kill each other, go right ahead,” he said. “But try to do it in a way that keeps innocent people out of the way.”

In discussing the column, Shabazz said it came out of a pattern he noticed of victim photos being mugshots.

“This is bad guy, shooting bad guy, which technically, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have a problem with,” he said. “However, the problem is when the bad guy shoots bad guy, an innocent person is caught in the middle.”

The party also criticized a proposal on his site, which calls for creating zones around impoverished areas where people would be punished more harshly if they committed crimes than in wealthier areas of the city. 

He indicates that people in these areas are more likely to be victims of a crime and, therefore, harsher penalties would discourage potential criminals.

Shabazz called the Marion County Democratic Party “full of crap,” and compared the concept to enhanced penalties for crimes against elderly or disabled individuals.

“All we’re saying is if you live in a certain neighborhood, why should you be more of a victim of crime than anybody else?” Shabazz said.

The Democratic Party release also included a list of offensive statements Shabazz has made on Twitter and in a column dating to 2012.

On the list is an April 2014 tweet, Shabazz uses the term “homeycides” and says “not everyone is worth saving” from gun violence. Last year, Shabazz tweeted a photo that he believed to be of a dead body, and later clarified in a separate tweet that the person had suffered a drug overdose and deleted the photo.

In response to the party’s statement, Shabazz said Democrats must be more concerned about what he wrote “10 to 14 years ago on Twitter than the 20-something-odd people that were killed in Indianapolis last month.”

He told IBJ he has no intentions of being more cautious on social media now that he’s running for mayor. 

He confirmed that his weekend WIBC show, “Abdul At Large,” will go on hiatus starting this weekend, but said he would plan to continue to cover the Indiana Statehouse. He said he is “still figuring out” if he will cover the city of Indianapolis.

The the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has previously criticized Shabazz’s involvement in the Indiana Statehouse press while being a candidate himself. He reiterated Thursday that he’s never been a “pure journalist.”

Shabazz will face fellow Republicans John L. Couch and the Rev. James W. Jackson in the Republican primary May 2.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

21 thoughts on “Shabazz stands by ‘self-cleaning oven’ column as he launches mayoral campaign

    1. He *IS* a loser if for no other reason that the comments he’s made before as noted here, and, perhaps more importantly, for his stubborn refusal to retract or temper his previous comments. I can *maybe* forgive some old comments coming from a political commentator as being hyperbolic. But he’s running to be mayor and must demonstrate a more appropriate demeanor and approach/ language. (He’s not going to win anyway.)

    1. John W – I think this is where D.D. meant to insert the response “You’re a racist”!

  1. Here’s his infrastructure idea to fix roads:

    “Create the equivalent of an infrastructure-based tax incremental finance system for roads in economically challenged areas
    The city should work with the state to capture a portion of the gas tax collected in certain economically challenged areas that would be dedicated to roads, streets, and sidewalk repair.”

    That’s it. That’s the idea, ask the state to change the rules to let us keep more of our money as opposed to them take the money from Indianapolis and subsidize the rest of the state. Which they’ve already said they weren’t doing.

  2. It’s hilarious how the MC Dem party had their ancient email and twitter ammunition in the chamber ready to fire upon Abdul’s announcement. Sounds like they are actually scared of Shabazz. As for DD and Randy, calling folks racists usually indicates you are reflecting your own guilt.

    1. They’re definitely scared. And the last two months, between when he announced his intent and when he actually began his campaign, they were sifting through internet history trying to dig up dirt.

      Meanwhile, drunkard or not, Hogsett has presided over the worst year-to-year uptick in crime in history, and the best the Democratic party chair can do is to go after Shabazz for the equivalent of mean Tweets.

      The one fear: Shabazz will in fact run like “a Lugar-style Republican” as he’s suggesting, which is a dead-in-the-water approach. Lugar was a fine figure most of the time, but he had run his course after 3.5 decades as a Senator. His final years, quite predictable, were spent denouncing “incivility” from his own party while turning a blind eye to riots and assassination attempts from the enemy. He had calcified into a Uniparty turd and thankfully did not sully his image by dying in office. Shabazz, don’t be like Lugar. Strive to get negative attention from the swamp-defending national media. It will be positive.

    2. Lauren has emerged from the basement to come in with quite the math problem.

      Marion County Republicans managed to go from having the mayorship and a majority on the CCC to losing the last two mayoral elections and now being outnumbered 20-5 on the council.

      So rather than appeal to the voters who are increasingly saying “no thanks” to what Republicans have to offer, and offer them some actual alternatives … you want him to instead attack and blame the media that he’s a part of, and that he will return to be part of if he loses.

      I mean, sure, the burn the boats approach worked for Cortez, but that was also 500 years ago.

      Look at how people voted in 2022 in Marion County. Explain to me how in a county that’s going 60-65% Democrat that approach is going to work.

      What’s you’ve got is a lovely plan to win the three southern most townships and be real popular on WIBC … and lose the rest of the county and the mayor’s race, and lock in the current state on the CCC for another 4 years. Assuming Abdul wins the primary, of course.

  3. LOL. The announcement is a few hours old and this is what the “journalists” come up with. This is the same group that marches in lockstep to hide the current mayor’s alcohol addiction. IBJ, you are not even trying to hide your bias, but judging from the comments, you know who your subscriber base is.

    1. Remember when Republicans were the party of personal responsibility and the Democrats were the whiners who blamed everyone but themselves?

      Yeah, me too.

    2. Hey can I play that game! Remember when Democrats actually opposed warmongering and stood for the interests of blue-collar people, instead of trust-fund failures who build insurrectionist movement in the woods outside of Atlanta and don’t know what their genitals do? Remember when Democrats stood against the amassing of corporate power or the unholy allegiance between government and big business, rather than ceding to every corporate demand provided they donate the right money and agree to the “Omertà” conditions that underlie ESG?

      Shabazz rightly knows: “Never apologize to the mob.” The Dixiecrats would love to get their nooses back out. The bigger question: why are the leftists continuing to defend the rampant criminality that Shabazz was referring to even though it’s helping turn their extremely small and concentrated urban jurisdictions into a real-world Mad Max?

      Never fear: Democrats are still the whiners who blame everyone but themselves, but, since the media infrastructure that used to pretend to investigate their malfeasance with equal measure is basically gone, they don’t need to even do that anymore…because there aren’t even any real accusations. Most of us knew the Biden family was crooked trailer trash even when he was a Senator, and was pinching classified info. What we’ve seen is the last few weeks is too little too late and (deliberately) give Biden’s handlers abundant warning to clean out his Rehoboth Beach home of any remaining dirt.

      If journalists say up, the truth is down. And over 65% of Americans know this. That’s why the layoffs keep continuing at tabloids like the WaPo. Good.

  4. I with you Abdul. You’re already miles ahead of Joe Hogsett. Keep the faith and don’t stop talking about the real issues that plague our city/state/nation.

  5. In 2015 Shabazz’s column was little more than inside policing. Police departments for years have allowed gangs to eliminate each other by staying out of the way. Police are aware of situations but if they get involved and something happens they get the blame so they stay out of the way until it is time to do the clean up!