INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Wednesday night, an officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed Sean Reed following a pursuit. The pursuit was witnessed and the shots were heard by thousands on Facebook Live as the man streamed on the internet.
The story has since made national headlines.
Here’s what we know and what we don’t know.
What IMPD said about the shooting
IMPD says Deputy Chief Kendale Adams first noticed a vehicle driving recklessly while northbound on Interstate 65 near 30th Street around 6 p.m. Adams was traveling in an unmarked vehicle. Behind his vehicle was IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, also in an unmarked vehicle.
Officers say the suspect was driving at a high rate of speed and ignoring traffic signals.
Adams and Taylor pursued the vehicle until a marked vehicle joined in.
At 6:10, the pursuit was ended. Six minutes later, another officer saw the vehicle pull in behind a business in the 6200 block of Michigan Road.
IMPD said a short foot pursuit occurred, then the officer deployed a stun gun. IMPD has described the use of the stun gun as “ineffective.”
IMPD says the officer and Reed exchanged gunfire. Chief Taylor says evidence shows Reed fired two shots.
Reed was struck. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
IMPD says a loaded gun matching photos Reed had posted on social media was found on the scene. IMPD says ballistic evidence points to both parties firing shots. The Marion County Forensic Services Agency will test evidence from the scene.
They say casings from two guns were located on the scene.
According to the police report, 114 officers responded to the scene.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m. Thursday, IMPD released this information about the shooting:
On May 6, 2020 at approximately 6:00 p.m. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Deputy Chief Kendale Adams was traveling northbound on Interstate 65 at West 30th Street when he observed a vehicle, described as a grey Toyota Corolla with four doors, driving recklessly. The vehicle had almost struck other vehicles while it exited the interstate. Deputy Chief Adams was in an unmarked police vehicle and Chief Randal Taylor was in a separate vehicle directly behind Deputy Chief Adams. Both Chief Taylor and Deputy Chief Adams were in uniform.
Deputy Chief Adams asked for other officers’ assistance as he began a pursuit on the vehicle. Chief Taylor continued to assist Deputy Chief Adams. The vehicle continued driving at a high rate of speed and disobeying all traffic signals.
As marked cars arrived in the pursuit, Chief Taylor and Major Adams removed themselves from the pursuit as is standard procedure. At 6:10 p.m. the pursuit was terminated by the Sergeant monitoring the pursuit. Officers immediately backed away from the vehicle and disengaged their emergency equipment.
Just before 6:16 p.m. a Northwest district officer observed the grey Toyota Corolla pull into the rear of a business in the 6200 block of Michigan Road. The driver then jumped out of the vehicle disregarding the officers verbal commands to stop. A short foot pursuit occurred east bound from the location. Initial information indicates the officer deployed his taser. It appears the taser was ineffective, and an exchange of gunfire between the driver and the officer followed. The driver was struck by the gunfire.
The officer was not hurt in this exchange; however, the driver, later identified as Dreasjon Reed, was pronounced deceased on the scene.
Officers located a firearm near Mr. Reed at the scene, which was collected as evidence. The distinctive appearance of the firearm matched one Mr. Reed had been seen posing with on social media.
Ballistic evidence recovered from the scene initially indicate that shots were fired from both the officer’s weapon and Mr. Reed’s weapon. Details will be confirmed as the evidence is tested by the Marion County Forensic Services Agency.
The IMPD Critical Incident Response Team is handling the criminal investigation. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) was also on the scene.
An Internal Affairs investigation is also ongoing.
The officer is currently off work on administrative leave as is standard procedure in these types of incidents.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
What the Facebook Live video shows
Various versions of the Facebook Live have circulated online via screen recordings on smartphones.
On Thursday night, the full video reappeared on Facebook.
Reed is heard saying “please come get me” multiple times as he parks and exits the vehicle. He also stated his location.
He eventually gets out of the vehicle and takes off on foot.
Reed is heard saying “f*** you” before shots ring out.
More than a dozen shots are clearly heard.
Screams of “oh my god” are heard repeatedly, along with police sirens.
Officers can be heard following the shooting. A detective who responded to the scene is heard saying “looks like it’s gonna be a closed casket, homie.” IMPD has not publicly identified this officer. This person is not seen in video.
Chief Randal Taylor addressed the comments on Thursday morning.
“Let me be clear. These comments are unacceptable and unbecoming of our police department,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the department is pursuing disciplinary action.
The video ends when a detective is seen looking down at the phone, then ending the video.
IMPD spoke to the media on Thursday morning.
IMPD previously spoke to the media following the shooting on Wednesday night.
Status of the investigation
IMPD says an internal affairs investigation is underway. The IMPD Critical Incident Response Team will handle the criminal investigation.
Findings will be turned over to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if charges will be filed.
The officer is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
IMPD officers do not wear body cameras.
News 8 has asked if any other video from the scene has been recovered.
News 8 has asked for the name, rank and any discipline record for the officer involved. IMPD has said the officer who shot Reed is black.
News 8 was made aware of a social media post from someone claiming to be a witness. We have requested to speak with this person but have not heard back.
News 8 has also reached out to the Marion County Coroner’s Office for a report, including where Reed was shot on his body and the number of times he was shot, as well as toxicology. On Thursday afternoon, MCCO said the exam was not yet complete and that “injury count” will only be released to next-of-kin.
How the community has reacted
Following the shooting, many residents gathered at the scene well into the evening hours.
News 8 sent a crew to the scene. Our crews left after being harassed.
On Thursday afternoon, many gathered downtown at the City-County Council building.
News 8’s multicultural reporter Katiera Winfrey is covering this event.
Numerous statements regarding the shooting have been released.
Mayor Joe Hogsett released this statement:
Last night, our city experienced a series of tragedies that raise understandable questions and once again reveal the scars of mistrust left behind by a national legacy of discrimination against communities of color.
As these incidents are investigated and reviewed by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, we are committed to ensuring that these processes are transparent and that information is released as it becomes available.
My prayers are with the families of those killed and with the police officers involved. These moments produce heartache for all and passion for many. As we recommit ourselves to building bridges between our police force and the neighborhoods they serve, I urge residents to channel their sadness and frustrations into peaceful change.
Mayor Joe Hogsett
State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) released this statement:
This is a devastating situation, and during this time of continued frustration with the pandemic, we have to be respectful of this family’s loss and keep them in our prayers. While there are still some details of this incident that are unknown, we know that a black man’s life has once again been taken and that his family and community deserve answers,” Sen. Taylor said. “I was able to meet and speak with one of Sean’s relatives yesterday, and his family is understandably feeling pain. Unfortunately, situations like this are becoming too common and incidents that could end in de-escalation are instead ending in death.
Right now, members of my community are calling for answers and justice, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department must work swiftly to provide both. There needs to be a thorough and sound investigation into this police shooting. Anything less than clear action to uncover the details of this incident will be unacceptable.
State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis)
State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) released this statement:
Blood is crying out from the streets for justice. While the details surrounding this most recent officer-involved shooting are still unclear, what is well-established and clearly known is that another African-American has died at the hands of someone whose oath is to protect and serve.
“In the wake of the tragic shooting of Officer Leath, I, along with so many others, empathize with IMPD and recognize the sacrifices they and their families make every single day, but these shootings must stop. Unnecessary force that results in death must stop. Somewhere in the training and implementation of their duties, something is amiss and awry. Chief Taylor, I implore you to figure this out. I implore you to use every resource, physical and capital, to cease this abomination and stop the killing of young black men of Indianapolis.
State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis)
City-County Council President Vop Osili released this statement on behalf of the City-County Council:
“We are all saddened tonight at the violent loss of a young life. While we wait for the investigative process to unfold and the facts to become fully understood, our thoughts tonight are with the family and friends of a young man whose future will never be realized. Events like today’s leave all of us shaken–public officials, local residents, and members of law enforcement alike–and cause us all to recognize that every life lost in our community is a tragedy.”
City-County Council President Vop Osili
The African American Coalition of Indianapolis released this statement:
The African American Coalition of Indianapolis joins the family of Dreasjon Reed and the community in mourning his tragic loss. Police action shootings, especially when the facts about the incident are unclear and disputed, strain positive police and community relations and create further fear and distrust within our community.
While we recognize the work IMPD has done to reduce such incidents through its implicit bias training, transparency in posting its general orders, and even reviewing its use of force policies, we believe an IMPD investigation of this case is insufficient. We believe an independent and external investigation is required to determine what happened in this police action shooting, especially whether the civil rights of Dreasjon Reed were violated. There must be justice and accountability for IMPD to retain its credibility in our community.
While we await the next steps of the criminal and administrative investigation of this shooting, we would encourage only peaceful responses to this tragedy. We also appreciate the desire to gather to voice frustration at what has occurred, but we also want to discourage large gatherings due to COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on our community. We urge IMPD to be transparent about its actions to establish the truth of what happened before and at 62nd and Michigan Road. We will continue to monitor this case as well as advocate for the unfinished work of police reform, such as civilian presence on use of force review panels.
The African American Coalition of Indianapolis
News 8’s Julia Deng spoke to a woman who identified herself as Reed’s sister.
The Greater Indianapolis NAACP released this statement:
Our hearts this morning are with the families who lost loved ones during these tragic events. All of us are trying to make a new normal in an un-normal time. Incidents like these do not help restore normalcy to our community.
We’re aware of some facts from the Facebook Live video. However, the NAACP will monitor and review additional facts as the investigations proceed and then determine whether it warrants any actions by our organization.
We ask the community to allow the process to proceed, as we monitor the various investigative units that will uncover the facts. If you believe you have relevant information, we ask you to provide it to investigators.
“We urge the community to stay calm. Additionally, we urge people not to gather in large groups to protest. With COVID-19 rampant in our community and the lack of sufficient testing and testing sites, we know that large gatherings will lead to more deaths in our community. We urge you to take to social media to express your feelings and find communities of like-minded people in a safe way.
Greater Indianapolis NAACP Branch President Chrystal Ratcliffe
The ACLU of Indiana released the following statement:
We join many in the community by calling for a prompt, thorough, and transparent investigation into the deadly shooting of Sean Reed. The public deserves to get a detailed account of why this man was shot and what actions Indianapolis Police took to avoid yet another fatal shooting.
“Whether someone is unarmed or armed, compliant or resistant, police officers should be properly trained in de-escalation tactics and turn to the use of force only as a last resort, not a first option.
“We see time and time again that excessive force by police disproportionately impacts black and brown community members. Law enforcement in Indiana should treat all communities with dignity, employ restraint on police power, and use only the degree of force necessary to maintain the community’s safety. Transformational changes are desperately needed in our approach to public safety.
ACLU of Indiana