Grand jury declines to indict IMPD officer in shooting of Dreasjon ‘Sean’ Reed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A special prosecutor says a Marion County grand jury has declined to charge a police officer in the shooting death of Dreasjon “Sean” Reed.

Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury announced the grand jury’s decision on Tuesday evening.

Khoury said the grand jury came back with a “no bill,” decision, meaning there was insufficient evidence to charge Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Dejoure Mercer.

Indiana State Police held a second press conference to present their investigation into the shooting.

Reed was shot and killed by an IMPD officer following a chase on May 6. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says Reed fired shots at an officer in an exchange of gunfire.

IMPD says the incident began when IMPD Chief Randal Taylor and IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams noticed Reed driving recklessly on Interstate 65 near 30th Street. Taylor and Adams, who were both in unmarked vehicles, stopped chasing Reed when marked police vehicles arrived.

Police said Reed was driving around 90 miles per hour and almost hit another vehicle.

The chase started around 6 p.m. and ended at 6:10 p.m.

Reed streamed the chase on Facebook Live.

Six minutes after the initial pursuit began, Mercer saw Reed’s vehicle pull behind a building near 62nd Street and Michigan Road.

Reed got out of his vehicle and was chased by Mercer. Mercer used a stun gun, which was described as “ineffective.” Reed and Mercer exchanged gunfire, according to police. It has not been said who shot first. Reed’s Facebook Live allows the shooting to be heard but not seen.

IMPD says a gun matching photos posted to social media by Reed was recovered on the scene. They also say casings from two guns were located at the scene.

Fatima Johnson, attorney for the Reed family, said Reed did not have a gun on him.

“Dreasjon Reed, Sean Reed, did not shoot a gun, did not point a gun, did not brandish a gun at an officer,” Johnson said in June.

Mercer’s name was not released by IMPD until June.

A detective who responded to the scene was overheard on Reed’s Facebook Live saying “looks like it’s gonna be a closed casket, homie.” The officer, Steven Scott, was suspended from IMPD for the comments.

“Let me be clear. These comments are unacceptable and unbecoming of our police department,” Chief Taylor said regarding Scott’s comment.

Khoury, a deputy prosecutor in Madison County, was also assigned to the case in June.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released this statement about the grand jury decision:

“Today my thoughts are with the family of Dreasjon Reed, who continue to grieve the loss of a son, a brother, and a friend. The events that led to the death of Mr. Reed have forced our community to confront the loss of this young life and have raised understandable questions produced by centuries of racism and mistrust.

From the beginning, I advocated for a transparent review of the incident – requesting monitoring from federal authorities and supporting the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Indiana State Police investigation. Today’s announcement by Special Prosecutor Khoury draws this process to a close, with the empaneled grand jury declining to issue an indictment.

This decision ends the criminal review of the interaction but it doesn’t heal the divides in our community caused by a heartbreaking incident such as this. I offer my sincere thanks to the many faith and community leaders who have advocated for law enforcement reforms, including the creation of a Use of Force Review Board, changes to our Use of Force Policy, the implementation of body cameras, and a citizen-majority General Orders Board. These reforms are meaningful steps forward as we continue to build new trust between Indianapolis neighborhoods and our police department.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D)

City-County Council President Vop Osili released this statement:

Today’s announcement of the grand jury findings in the death of Dreasjon Reed recalls the long and complicated relationship between local law enforcement and many in our community.  

Moving forward, we cannot ignore the fact that Black residents of Indianapolis have long experienced justice—and the justice system—very differently from our white neighbors. That history has very naturally resulted in mistrust, anger, and anguish on all sides. The challenge that lays before us now is to redress that painful past without allowing it to define our future.  

This Council continues to be committed to the work of building that trust between law enforcement and all members of the city they serve, but we recognize we cannot do it alone. We welcome the participation of our faith community, our activist community, our business community, and our law enforcement community as we look toward a future that is built on trust, transparency, mutual respect, and understanding.

In our democracy, activism and peaceful protest are fundamental. The Council urges those exercising their first amendment rights to do so peacefully.

Vop Osili, president of the Indianapolis City-County Council

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released this statement about the decision:

“We are grateful to Prosecutor Khoury, Indiana State Police Superintendent Carter and all the troopers who participated in this investigation, as well as the citizens who served on the grand jury for ensuring a fair and just investigative process and a transparent outcome.

We also extend our thanks to Indianapolis residents for awaiting the conclusion of this lengthy and intensive process alongside us. We understand that this result may be frustrating for some of our residents, but it is our hope that the full transparency offered by Prosecutor Khoury and Superintendent Carter will help to move our city forward, improve the relationship between our officers and neighborhoods, and bring us closer to healing the division in our community. We look forward to continuing a productive dialogue with our residents and building the types of partnerships with our neighborhoods that prevent violence.”

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

John Kautzman, the attorney for Officer DeJoure Mercer, released this statement:

Chrystal Ratcliffe, the president of the Greater Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP, released this statement:

“The Greater Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP asks for peace in the community as Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury and the grand jury concludes the Reed investigation by issuing no charges.  We, like Prosecutor Khoury, believe there are no winners in this tragic circumstance.   The Branch appreciates the transparency of the investigation and giving the community as close to a full disclosure as permitted by the law.   

“The NAACP has long-standing experience with issues involving police use of force. We need an ongoing dialogue that continues to reimagine policing within the greater Indianapolis community. The task may seem daunting, but we feel Indianapolis will rise to meet the challenge. 

“We appeal to community members who wish to express themselves to do so in a peaceful manner and not engage in detrimental conduct which undermines our cause. By remaining peaceful, the overall message of respect and transparency in policing will not get lost. 

“Again, our hearts are with Dreasjon Reed’s family, the IMPD family and the Indianapolis community as we begin to move forward in the healing process.”

Chrystal Ratcliffe, president of the Greater Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus released this statement:

“The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus has a mission to advocate for those in need and ensure that we do our best to protect our constituents. As you are aware, threats of violence and fear are among us. Today, the decision of the grand jury in the Dreasjon Reed case was announced. It is our sincerest intention to extend to the family of Mr. Reed our deepest condolences.

“While we respect engagement and demonstrations, we want to encourage everyone to be cautious. The IBLC will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation. We implore everyone to remain safe and remember that we are in the middle of global pandemic. Please treat each other with humanity and kindness.”

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus