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IMPD officer in Dreasjon Reed shooting sues NFL for defamation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis officer is suing the NFL for social media posts over the shooting of Dreasjon Reed.

Officer De’Joure Mercer filed the suit Monday in federal court in Indianapolis. Mercer shot and killed Reed after a police chase in May 2020.

The lawsuit cites NFL posts made on Twitter and Facebook after prosecutors and a grand jury declined to file charges against Mercer. Mercer says the NFL’s decision to include Dreasjon Reed in its Say Their Stories campaign amounts to defamation.

The lawsuit says, “Despite a highly-publicized investigation and other information that clearly exculpated Mercer of all wrongdoing, all of which was publicly available and was in fact possessed by and known to one of the National Football League’s teams, the Indianapolis Colts, the NFLE (NFL Enterprises ) published several online statements accusing Mercer of police misconduct.”

The NFL’s Say Their Stories campaign included victims of police misconduct as part of a push for social justice in 2020.

“The NFLE’s Publications were a substantial factor in causing public hatred and scorn to perpetuate against Mercer,” the lawsuit says.

It also says the social media posts diminished Mercer’s standing in the community and denigrated his fitness to be a police officer.

“Even if Mercer is deemed a public figure, subject to establishing the ‘actual malice’ standard of fault, the NFLE acted with actual malice: it either knew the statements it was publishing about Mercer were false, or acted with reckless disregard to the statements’ truth or falsity.”

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages from the NFL but says Mercer will likely lose millions of dollars over his lifetime because of what he calls the NFL’s “false and negligent” allegations. Mercer, who was born and raised in greater Indianapolis, has worked with IMPD since 2015.

Attorneys Todd V. McMurtry and Guy A. Relford filed the lawsuit on Mercer’s behalf.

News 8 has reached out to the NFL for comment and has not received a response.

Reed, 21, was shot and killed after a chase on May 6, 2020. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says Reed fired shots at an officer in an exchange of gunfire. The incident also involved a chase with speeds that topped out around 90 mph, police said. Reed streamed the chase on Facebook Live.

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