An Indianapolis police officer who shot and killed Dreasjon Reed in a May police chase that sparked demonstrations and demands that the officer face justice, will not be criminally charged, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury said in a Tuesday news conference that a grand jury did not find probable cause to indict Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Dejoure Mercer. Both Reed and Mercer are Black.
“This special grand jury returned a ‘no bill,’ “ said Khoury, who was visibly emotional while making the announcement. “This term means there is insufficient evidence to indict or accuse Officer Dejoure Mercer of a crime.”
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Reed, 21, was pursued in a high-speed vehicle chase, some of which he put on Facebook Live and a foot chase. When police caught up to him and confronted him, they fired a taser at him. Determining that it was not sufficient, Mercer fired his service weapon, fatally wounding him. Officials say a weapon was found at the scene. A later Indiana State Police investigation determined that Reed was armed and had fired at police twice.
His family, however, had blasted that determination, saying that he had no weapon and that police failed to de-escalate the situation.
“He had a t-shirt in his hand and a cellphone,” Reed’s father Jamie Reed said in a video interview with TMZ not long after the shooting “He’s running with no shirt on, so they would have seen the gun. They tased him first, so if you’d have seen a gun and you’re an officer and you’re assuming he’s about to pull it, you’d have already shot. They tased him first, and they shot him while he was down.”
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The family later filed suit against the City of Indianapolis and the IMPD (which was later removed). One of the named defendants in the case was Officer Steven Scott, who was caught on Reed’s Facebook Live video making a remark about him needing a “closed casket.” He was suspended for making the quip.
After the grand jury decision announcement was made, community organizations like Indy10 Black Lives Matter and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis people to express their disappointment that there would be no charges peacefully.
“We like to believe that justice is clear, recognizable and a product of a collective consensus. Justice should be obvious,” the ACCI said in a statement, according to the Indy Star. “However, too often, when it has come to the death of Black males in police action, shootings there has not been a clear, recognizable, and collective community consensus on whether justice has been achieved.”