INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two Indianapolis police officers have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a 45-year-old man in August, the special prosecutors announced Friday.
The special prosecutors, Jackson County Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth and Deputy Proseuctor Daniel Carnes, said in a court filing that Jeremy Torres and Brett Lorah, officers with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, will not be criminally charged.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears in October had requested a special prosecutor be appointed in the fatal shooting of 45-year-old DeShon Downing of Indianapolis.
Police said Downing was a passenger in a van that an East District Flex Team officer pulled over for a traffic stop around 8:15 p.m. Aug 2 in the 8500 block of East 42nd Street near Richelieu Road. Officers were nearby, in the area of 42nd Street and Brentwood Drive, conducting surveillance on criminal activity. According to the special prosecutors’ report, an officer saw occupants of the van involved in “several apparent hand-to-hand drug transactions” and later a traffic violation by the driver.
The report said Torres, Lorah and a third officer, Jereme Morris, had surrounded the van. In talking with the driver and Downing, who was the only passenger, Morris received false identity information from Downing; he was asked to exit the van. Downing did not comply, a brief struggle ensued and Downing reached for a Smith & Wesson M&P40 pistol and pointed it at the officers. The officers retreated and Torres and Lorah fired their weapons, striking Downing. He threw his pistol across the front seats and out the driver’s-side door, which the van driver had opened as he left the vehicle when shots were fired.
After Downing was shot, he continued to ignore commands to display his hands. He was removed from the van after more officers arrived. Downing died at the scene despite life-saving measures from emergency medical personnel, the report said.
The special prosecutors said they reviewed a high-quality surveillance video from a nearby home that confirmed the police officers’ reports of the struggle and subsequent shooting.
The driver of the van was not identified in the special prosecutors’ report. The driver cooperated with police, IMPD said.
IMPD said Friday the three officers remain on administrative leave.