FAMILY DISPUTES GRAND JURY DECISION IN DEADLY POLICE SHOOTING
INDIANAPOLIS — We heard the deadly police shooting, streamed live on Facebook and shared by hundreds of users, but we couldn't see shooting victim Dreasjon Reed's last moments alive.
The portion of the May 2020 police encounter that wasn't captured by the 21-year-old's phone camera is now at the center of a civil suit cheered by some community leaders.
Reed's family is disputing a grand jury's decision not to indict the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer involved in the shooting that killed Reed following a high-speed pursuit.
However, key details in the Reed family's claims are at odds with IMPD's account of what happened, as well as audio analysis and ballistics evidence from an Indiana State Police investigation into the shooting in the 6200 block of North Michigan Road.
"Right from the beginning of this case, IMPD was adamant that Mercer rained all those bullets on Dreajson [Reed] because he shot at him first," said Swaray Conteh, an attorney for the Reed family.
According to IMPD, Reed and IMPD Officer Dejoure Mercer exchanged gunfire after Mercer used his taser on Reed. IMPD officials never stated Reed shot at Mercer first. Indiana State Police said their investigation could not determine who opened fire first, only that two shots were fired by Reed's gun and 13 shots were fired by Mercer's gun. Reed did not have to shoot first for Mercer's use of deadly force to be legally justified under Indiana law.
Those facts aren't stopping the Reed family from taking the matter to civil court. Fatima Johnson, another attorney for the Reed family, questioned how an officer could face no charges after firing 13 shots and killing a man. Her calls for increased police accountability and a closer examination of police culture have been echoed by protesters throughout Central Indiana in the wake of the shooting.
"Dreasjon [Reed] will not be afforded the privilege of finding justice of a criminal courtroom," said Johnson. "Dejoure Mercer must be held accountable for the life he took. The city must answer for hiring people like him."