Grand jury declines to indict IMPD officer in deadly shooting of Dreasjon Reed

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Special prosecutor announces insufficient evidence for criminal charges against Indianapolis Police Officer Dejoure Mercer

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer who shot and killed Dreasjon Reed in May will not face criminal charges.

Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury announced Tuesday that a special grand jury returned a “no bill,” meaning they did not find enough probable cause to charge or accuse Officer Dejoure Mercer with a crime.

A grand jury is made up of six community members with no background in law. They ultimately decide whether to indict a person after a case and its facts are presented.

Khoury held back tears as she said, “This has not been an easy task and it’s been a very heavy burden.”

When asked about the most difficult part of the process, she said, “The most challenging part was to not let my emotions become involved. There was a lot of evidence to sort through.”

She said from day one in this case, she strived for fairness.

“It’s a very sad situation,” she said. “No one wins here.”

Khoury said she’s confident the investigation was conducted in an impartial manner.

When asked about how the case has affected her emotionally, she reflected on her sons.

“I don’t know how Mr. Reed’s mother feels…but I am a mother of two black boys. I’m also very empathetic toward Officer Mercer. I know that had to be a difficult position to be in. Like I said, no one wins.”

She said she trusts our judicial system and “has to believe” justice was done.

According to IMPD, Officer Dejoure Mercer said Reed fired at him twice during a foot chase in the vicinity of 62nd Street and North Michigan Road May 6 before the patrolman fired back, fatally wounding the 21-year-old man. Reed’s family and attorney disputes IMPD’s account of the events.

The shooting began as a police pursuit. Officers reported seeing a vehicle driving recklessly on I-65 near 30th Street; the pursuit reached speeds of close to 90 mph, IMPD said.

The car stopped at 62nd and Michigan; the driver, Reed, got out. IMPD said there was a confrontation involving the suspect that led to the shooting.

Reed was streaming live on Facebook during the incident.

WARNING: The video below is unedited and contains language and violence some viewers may find disturbing.

The Facebook video, which runs more than 36 minutes, shows the incident from Reed’s perspective.

This week, Indianapolis businesses have been boarding up their storefronts in anticipation of potential unrest and protests regarding the decision.

Statements

Mayor Joe Hogsett released the following statement on Tuesday evening’s announcement by Special Prosecutor Khoury and Indiana State Police:

Today my thoughts are with the family of Dreasjon Reed, who continue to grieve the loss of a son, a brother, and a friend. The events that led to the death of Mr. Reed have forced our community to confront the loss of this young life and have raised understandable questions produced by centuries of racism and mistrust.

From the beginning, I advocated for a transparent review of the incident – requesting monitoring from federal authorities and supporting the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Indiana State Police investigation. Today’s announcement by Special Prosecutor Khoury draws this process to a close, with the empaneled grand jury declining to issue an indictment.

This decision ends the criminal review of the interaction but it doesn’t heal the divides in our community caused by a heartbreaking incident such as this. I offer my sincere thanks to the many faith and community leaders who have advocated for law enforcement reforms, including the creation of a Use of Force Review Board, changes to our Use of Force Policy, the implementation of body cameras, and a citizen-majority General Orders Board. These reforms are meaningful steps forward as we continue to build new trust between Indianapolis neighborhoods and our police department.

Mayor Hogsett

IMPD released the following statement:

We are grateful to Prosecutor Khoury, Indiana State Police Superintendent Carter and all the troopers who participated in this investigation, as well as the citizens who served on the grand jury for ensuring a fair and just investigative process and a transparent outcome.

We also extend our thanks to Indianapolis residents for awaiting the conclusion of this lengthy and intensive process alongside us. We understand that this result may be frustrating for some of our residents, but it is our hope that the full transparency offered by Prosecutor Khoury and Superintendent Carter will help to move our city forward, improve the relationship between our officers and neighborhoods, and bring us closer to healing the division in our community. We look forward to continuing a productive dialogue with our residents and building the types of partnerships with our neighborhoods that prevent violence.

IMPD

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released the following statement:

The Greater Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP asks for peace in the community as Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury and the grand jury concludes the Reed investigation by issuing no charges. We, like Prosecutor Khoury, believe there are no winners in this tragic circumstance. The Branch appreciates the transparency of the investigation and giving the community as close to a full disclosure as permitted by the law.

The NAACP has long-standing experience with issues involving police use of force. We need an ongoing dialogue that continues to reimagine policing within the greater Indianapolis community. The task may seem daunting, but we feel Indianapolis will rise to meet the challenge.

We appeal to community members who wish to express themselves to do so in a peaceful manner and not engage in detrimental conduct which undermines our cause. By remaining peaceful, the overall message of respect and transparency in policing will not get lost.

Again, our hearts are with Dreasjon Reed’s family, the IMPD family and the Indianapolis community as we begin to move forward in the healing process.

NAACP

Officer Mercer’s attorney, John Kautzman, released the following statement:

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus released the following statement:

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus has a mission to advocate for those in need and ensure that we do our best to protect our constituents. As you are aware, threats of violence and fear are among us. Today, the decision of the grand jury in the Dreasjon Reed case was announced. It is our sincerest intention to extend to the family of Mr. Reed our deepest condolences.

While we respect engagement and demonstrations, we want to encourage everyone to be cautious. The IBLC will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation. We implore everyone to remain safe and remember that we are in the middle of global pandemic. Please treat each other with humanity and kindness.

IBLC

Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili released the following statement:

Today’s announcement of the grand jury findings in the death of Dreasjon Reed recalls the long and complicated relationship between local law enforcement and many in our community.  

Moving forward, we cannot ignore the fact that Black residents of Indianapolis have long experienced justice—and the justice system—very differently from our white neighbors. That history has very naturally resulted in mistrust, anger, and anguish on all sides. The challenge that lays before us now is to redress that painful past without allowing it to define our future.  

This Council continues to be committed to the work of building that trust between law enforcement and all members of the city they serve, but we recognize we cannot do it alone. We welcome the participation of our faith community, our activist community, our business community, and our law enforcement community as we look toward a future that is built on trust, transparency, mutual respect, and understanding.

In our democracy, activism and peaceful protest are fundamental. The Council urges those exercising their first amendment rights to do so peacefully.

Vop Osili

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