Crime Watch 8

Special prosecutor calls on IMPD to hand over Dreasjon ‘Sean’ Reed case to state police

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The special prosecutor in the Dreasjon “Sean” Reed case on Wednesday afternoon called on the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to hand over its investigation to the Indiana State Police.

Reed was shot and killed by an IMPD officer after a pursuit May 6.

Rosemary Khoury, a deputy prosecutor in Madison County, was appointed special prosecutor on Thursday. She said in a statement issued Wednesday by Indiana State Police that she wants to review the evidence in “as sterile an environment as possible.”

“In the current climate it is my professional opinion that it is in the best interest of all involved that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department not conduct the investigation in this matter and allow an independent law enforcement agency to assume this responsibility. Therefore, on this date I am requesting that this criminal investigation be reassigned to the Indiana State Police. In order to conduct as thorough and complete of an investigation as possible, I am also asking the community to cooperate with me and with the investigators who are working alongside me.”

A spokeswoman for IMPD said shortly after the announcement that it was unaware of the statement. About an hour later, IMPD issued this statement: “We defer to the assigned special prosecutor for the officer involved shooting that took place on May 6, 2020 at 6200 N. Michigan Road. IMPD continues to cooperate with any request for information by the special prosecutor or the Indiana State Police.”

Khoury also said in the statement, “I am not permitted to try the case in the media. However, I will keep the citizens of the community whom I serve abreast of the process and progress of this investigation. I would ask that anyone with pertinent information regarding this case, please call the Indiana State Police at 765.778.2121.”

The special prosecutor’s statement came hours after IMPD identified Officer Dejoure Mercer as the person who shot Reed. Mercer has been with the department for four years. IMPD says Mercer has no violations in his discipline records. He is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

IMPD has said Mercer on May 6 spotted a gray Toyota Corolla in the 6200 block of North Michigan Road that had been in high-speed police chase. Reed jumped out of the car and ran, ignoring Mercer’s commands to stop, which led Mercer to use his taser. What followed was an exchange between Reed and Mercer. The entire scene played out in a post on Facebook Live by Reed.

IMPD also identified Officer Steven Scott as the detective disciplined for his remark — “looks like a closed casket, homie” — overheard on Reed’s Facebook Live post several minutes after he’d been shot. Scott’s personnel file also shows a written reprimand in 2015 for an off-duty employment violation as well as several awards and commendations for bravery and valor.

The department said Wednesday it is “working to formalize a policy that outlines when and how officers involved in critical incidents should be identified to the public.”

The disclosure policy will be made available to the public when it is finalized and approved.

“As Chief of Police, my responsibility is to protect the safety of all in our city, including our IMPD officers. With that in mind, I am following up on my commitment to be transparent with the community we serve,” Chief Randal Taylor in a statement.

The special prosecutor’s statement came about an hour before the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee of the City-County Council planned to discuss changes for IMPD policies, including these:

  • An update to IMPD’s standard for the use of force. It will be modeled after a California law.
  • An update to the requirement for identification and warning before deadly force is used.
  • IMPD will prohibit chokeholds.
  • De-escalation guidelines now used for situations involving mental health would be expanded to all situations. Training on de-escalation was already being discussed before Floyd’s death.
  • Intervention and comprehensive reporting of lethal and nonlethal uses of force would be required, with a definition of an officer’s duty to intervene and report when another officer uses inappropriate force.
  • Shooting at moving vehicles and shooting from a moving vehicle will be prohibited.
  • Specific rules would be created for the use of less lethal force.

The committee meeting is online.

News 8’s Richard Essex contributed to this report.