More than six months after 21-year-old Dreasjon “Sean” Reed was fatally shot and killed by an Indianapolis police officer after a live streaming high-speed chase, Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury and other law enforcement officers gathered at the Indiana State Police Museum Tuesday evening to announce whether a grand jury has decided to file criminal charges against the officer who shot him.
According to Khoury, the jury “did not find enough evidence to indict or accuse Officer Dejoure Mercer of Reed’s murder,” the Indianapolis star reports.
Khoury, who is black, fought tearfully when she delivered the announcement.
“I don’t know how Mr. Reed’s mother is feeling, but I’m the mother of two black boys,” said Khoury.
“I am also very empathetic towards Officer Mercer. I know it had to be difficult to be in that position, ”she continued. “Nobody wins.”
Both Mercer and Reed are black.
Mercer was among several officers in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, including Chief Randal Taylor, who prosecuted Reed for reckless driving on May 6. Reed transferred the chase, which was once stopped by the police because Reed was driving so fast.
About 15 minutes after the chase began, Reed stopped and asked one of the thousands of people watching him on Facebook Live to come and pick him up. Mercer was nearby, following Reed on foot.
The video went dark, but you could still hear audio from Reed running from Mercer. At some point Reed could be heard screaming in pain and it seemed to collapse on the floor. Gunshots sound and moments later an officer later identified as Steven Scott is heard saying, “Looks like a closed coffin, homie.”
According to law enforcement agencies, Mercer shot Reed after a taser operation was “ineffective”. Police say Reed rolled onto his back and fired two shots at Mercer after he was stunned and fell to the ground, and Mercer returned fire. Indiana State Police say Reed’s gun matched cartridges found in two previous drive-by shootings and that the evidence on his phone was further linked to those incidents that resulted in no injuries.
The story goes on
Reed’s family and their lawyers deny that Reed owned or fired a gun at police officers. They filed a lawsuit against the city and several officials involved in the prosecution, including Officers Mercer and Scott, and Chief Taylor and Deputy Chief Kendale Adams.
Khoury failed to answer multiple questions about the evidence her office presented to the grand jury. Since the trial is secret, the public will likely never know who testified about Reed’s murder or what evidence was presented. A separate press conference was held on Tuesday with the ISP going through the timeline of what was going on.
“I have to believe that justice has been done because I trust our system, our justice system,” said Khoury.
Reed’s murder sparked protests in Indianapolis nearly a month before George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. Since his death, IMPD has begun rolling out body cameras for the police force – a reform that community members and city officials have “long requested,” wrote the Indianapolis Star. There was no body camera footage of Reed’s murder.
Dozens of protesters gathered shortly after the grand jury’s announcement on Tuesday evening. The African American Coalition of Indianapolis also issued a statement following the decision.
“We like to believe that justice is clear, discernible and a product of a collective consensus. Justice should be evident, ”said the group. “Too often, however, when black men died in police shootings, there was no clear, identifiable, and collective consensus among the community as to whether justice was achieved.”
“No justice has been served. My brother is [not] There’s no way to get a good rest, ”Sean’s sister Jazmine Reed told WRTV. “Now we have to go on every day. I have to have my son, we have to get on with life every day. My brother cannot see his nephew come into this world, he can no longer enjoy his niece, his mother, his father and his two other sisters. “