November 10, 2020

Grand Jury Does Not Indict IMPD Officer Who Fatally Shot Dreasjon Reed

Special prosecutor Rosemary Khoury speaks to the media. - Eric Weddle/WFYI

Special prosecutor Rosemary Khoury speaks to the media.

Eric Weddle/WFYI

The Indianapolis police officer who shot and killed Dreasjon Reed will not face an indictment, according to the special prosecutor appointed to oversee the case. 

Reed was killed six months ago following a police chase that he streamed live on social media. A six-person grand jury said there was insufficient evidence to charge IMPD Officer Dejoure Mercer with a crime.

Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury said a thorough investigation, led by Indiana State Police, was presented to the grand jury. She became emotional as she spoke at a press conference announcing the decision.

“This has not been an easy task and it has been a very heavy burden,” Khoury said.

Khoury said there was a lot of evidence to sort through and many witnesses were interviewed.

"I hope that anyone that was a part of this entire process can look at this and feel comfortable that the investigation was done in an impartial manner because that’s exactly what my team and I did," she said.

The grand jury is a private proceeding. The decision indicates jurors did not find enough evidence to recommend charges against Mercer. Khoury called for the grand jury nearly three months ago. The process is confidential to protect the jurors chosen from the community.

Following the announcement, ISP provided a detailed explanation of the evidence it had collected. 

ISP Superintendent Doug Carter said they don’t know exactly what information was presented to the grand jury, but still wanted to be transparent. 

"The law does allow us to tell you whatever our investigation has show," Carter said, "and so while this is a bit of an extraordinary circumstance, we’re living in extraordinary times."

The information included a forensic review, camera footage, analysis of the shots fired and evidence that Reed had a gun and fired it. Part of this evidence included audio of two shots being fired at once. 

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a written statement that he has advocated for transparency. 

"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," Hogsett said. 

Shooting and investigation

Reed fled from police on May 6 in a friend’s car before stopping at 62nd Street and Michigan Road. 

The incident streamed live on Facebook while thousands watched. The family says Reed never shot at the officer after he was tasered.

Khoury asked the Indiana State Police to handle the investigation, saying it was best for an independent agency to look into the shooting.

The Reed family has asked for an investigation by federal authorities. Attorneys representing the family said they do not trust the city to handle the investigation properly.

Dreasjon Reed’s family filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit this summer. IMPD was recently dismissed from the suit that claims Dejoure Mercer, the officer who shot and killed Reed, used excessive force that led to Reed’s wrongful death.

The lawsuit also named Steven Scott, the officer heard on the social media video making a comment about the need for a closed casket after Reed was shot, but the judge also dismissed him from the lawsuit.

 

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