INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The special prosecutor in the fatal police shooting of Dreasjon “Sean” Reed on Friday called for a grand jury to rule whether a crime was committed.
Reed was fatally shot after a foot chase with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers into a grassy area near the intersection of West 62nd Street and Michigan Road on the evening of May 6. Reed made a Facebook Live post of a police-vehicle chase that preceded the shooting in the grassy area. He died at the scene.
“This is a time-intensive process. It takes time for a just and fair outcome,” special prosecutor Rosemary Khoury said, thanking the community for its patience.
State police released Khoury’s full statement shortly after she spoke outside the Indiana Statehouse. At Friday’s statement outside the Statehouse, a state police officer who introduced the prosecutor said she would take no questions from the news media.
One of Khoury’s first actions as special prosecutor was to call on IMPD to hand over its investigation of the fatal shooting to Indiana State Police. She said in a statement issued June 10 by state police that she wanted to review the evidence in “as sterile an environment as possible.” A spokeswoman for IMPD said shortly after the statement was issued that the department was unaware of the statement, but later said it would cooperate with any request for information by the special prosecutor or the state police.
Earlier this month, News 8 learned, Khoury had tried to keep Reed’s autopsy report sealed until she had finished her investigation. However, on Aug. 5, a Marion County judge ordered her to hand the report over to Reed’s family.
Khoury, who is from Madison County, became the special prosecutor in the case on June 5. Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears asked for the case to be reassigned because IMPD Chief Randal Taylor was involved in the first of two police pursuits of Reed.
Taylor and Deputy Chief Kendale Adams began the pursuit of Reed in a gray Toyota Corolla after he was seen driving recklessly on I-65. Both were in unmarked vehicles and dropped out of the chase when marked vehicles arrived. They eventually gave up their chase, but another IMPD officer later spotted Reed’s vehicle. After the second chase ended, IMPD said, a short foot pursuit occurred, then an officer deployed a stun gun. IMPD has described the use of the stun gun as “ineffective.”
The officer was later identified as Officer Dejoure Mercer.
IMPD says Mercer and Reed exchanged gunfire. Reed was struck. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
The IMPD chief has said ballistic evidence shows Reed fired two shots.
Reed’s fatal shooting and another incident involving IMPD officers during a curfew arrest May 31 brought new calls from city leaders for reforms within IMPD. One of those calls was for body cameras, which IMPD began using with a limited number of officers in early August. The department also announced new “use of force” policies, which went into effect Aug. 3. The new policy prohibits officers from firing into or from a moving vehicle. Also, officers can department-issued tasers, chemical spray and batons, but officers have to justify using any force. Additionally, IMPD has said, any kind of force that is used will be reported and investigated according to the department’s existing policy. Once a “Use of Force Review Board” is established, any force used by an IMPD officer will reviewed by the board. IMPD also abandoned the use of no-knock warrants. Training on the new policies was to begin in August.
The Facebook Live broadcast from Reed’s cellphone recorded IMPD detective Steven Scott saying “looks like a closed casket, homie” as he looked at Reed. Scott was disciplined for his remark.
Reed’s shooting as well as the May 7 fatal police shooting of McHale Rose has sparked protests and demonstrations in Indianapolis, with the latest demonstration on Thursday at the northwest-side intersection.
The attorney for Reed’s family said it has no comment “at this time” about Friday’s statement from the special prosecutor.
Kara Jay of Indy10 Black Lives Matter watched Khoury’s statement from the Statehouse lawn. Asked what would happen if the grand jury does not indict the officer, she said, “I don’t know. The mayor and chief will have a lot of explaining to do to the people because, like I said, IMPD has lacked accountability.”
Another sign of the high tension surrounding this case: Indy10 Black Lives Matter distributed wanted posters around Indianapolis with the name and face of the officer that shot Reed. Both IMPD and state police are aware of the flyers and say there is no direct threat to the officer.
Anyone with information in the case has been asked to call the state police at (765) 778-2121.
Below is the entire statement from the special prosecutor. App users can go online to see the video in this story.