INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Music blared throughout the Michigan Road and 62nd Street intersection for a birthday party — or what would have been one — for Dreasjon Reed.
Reed was shot and killed by an IMPD officer near that intersection after a May 6 pursuit. Reed streamed the chase on Facebook Live. Police say Reed and an IMPD officer exchanged gunfire.
“Happy birthday, Dreasjon!” organizer Joshua Griffin shouted.
Justice for Dreasjon signs sat in the background of an event full of smiling faces, but that idea was on the forefront of everyone’s minds after two weeks of protests for him and others killed by police.
“I appreciate everyone and anyone that has anything to do in a positive manner for my son,” Reed’s mother, Demetree Wynn, said. Just remember to do everything in love and everything in peace.”
Organizers say the celebration was for everyone and was meant to bridge divides. Mayor Joe Hogsett and Gov. Eric Holcomb were among the officials invited, but organizers say those invites were declined, and frustration built as they felt their cries had fallen on deaf ears.
“I tried to involve the full city,” Griffin said. “Even IMPD. But now that shows me what you really look at me as. I’m only just a citizen for dollars and for votes. You don’t care about the overall health of the community.”
Celebration and protest combined in the intersection of Michigan and 62nd as the community members shouted for justice, shouted wishes of a happy birthday for a man who didn’t live to see 22.
“Remember, I am Dreasjon Reed,” Wynn said. “I am his mother. I am and will continue to fight for my son!”
Community members feel joy for strides made and want to keep celebrating, but just like Reed’s mother, they say they can’t fully relax until, for them, justice is served.
“Y’all gonna hear me say ‘They released the names!'” Griffin said. “But that’s not all that we want. The fight has just begun. We’re nowhere near done. Just because you took us off curfew or released a few names, don’t think we’re going to let up.”
Organizers say they hope this can be a yearly event to help unify the community.