Indiana grand jury decides no charges in fatal shooting of Sean Reed
A grand jury will not pursue any charges against Officer Dejoure Mercer in the death of Sean Reed
A special grand jury in has decided not to indict an Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer in the fatal shooting of Sean Reed whose death was captured on Facebook Live.
Reed, also known as Dreasjon, live streamed the incident.
Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury made the announcement on Tuesday declaring that the grand jury returned with a “no bill,” Fox 59 reports. The six community members had been assembled after Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Dejoure Mercer killed Reed during a pursuit in May.
Police maintained that Reed, 21, had a weapon and fired at law enforcement. On May 6, Reed, a former Airmen and a legal gun holder, according to Fox 59, fled on foot after police stopped him for driving recklessly. He was first spotted speeding on the highway but a chase was called off due to his high rate of speed.
Reed’s car was recognized by police when he drove onto city streets and when they attempted to stop him, he exited the car. In the ensuing confrontation and chase, Mercer, who is Black, says he was fired upon. His account says he first used a stun gun, but it had no effect on Reed. According to The Washington Post, a gun found near Reed at the scene was likely fired twice.
In June, Reed’s family denied the IMPD version of events, insisting he was “shot in the back for no reason.”
Though Reed live streamed the entire incident, the first moments when he exits the car aren’t visible on camera.
“I’m here to say to you today unequivocally that Dreasjon Reed, Sean Reed, did not shoot a gun, did not point a gun, did not brandish a gun at an officer,” attorney Fatima Johnson said. “He did not. The narrative that you’ve heard is incorrect, is false, is misleading. It did not happen.”
Mercer fired 13 shots but investigators were unable, despite the video from Reed’s phone, and surveillance footage from a nearby business to determine who shot first, according to the Post.
Additionally, theGrio reported that an officer was suspended after remarking that “think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie,” about Reed’s funeral. Ofc. Steven Scott, another Black officer, was later named as the person who made the comment, which was captured on the Facebook live stream.
Reed’s shooting was the first of three officer-involved killings in Indianapolis within a day.19-year-old McHale Rose was shot by police and Ashlynn Lisby, 23, a pregnant white woman, was struck by an officer’s vehicle as she walked up an expressway off-ramp. The shootings led to protests in Indianapolis. In response, Khoury was named as the special prosecutor in Reed’s death but the investigation will not yield any legal action.
The jury decided that they could not find probable cause to bring charges against Mercer. Khoury was visibly emotional as she relayed their decision.
“This has not been an easy task and it’s been a very heavy burden,” she said.
Khoury acknowledged that the case had taken a toll on her.
“The most challenging part was to not let my emotions become involved. There was a lot of evidence to sort through,” Khoury said.
“Fairness. From day one that’s been my goal,” she told reporters. “No one wins here. I hope that anyone who was a part of this entire process can look at this and feel comfortable that the investigation was done in an impartial manner. That’s exactly what my team and I did over the past five months.”
She extended her sympathies to Reed’s mother, Demetree Wynn.
“I don’t know how Mr. Reed’s mother feels…but I am a mother of two Black boys. I’m also very empathetic toward Officer Mercer. I know that had to be a difficult position to be in. Like I said, no one wins,” she said.
Reed has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city, the four officers involved and the police department, alleging that officers were not properly trained in the application of deadly force. The city was later removed from the lawsuit due to legal precedent.
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