June 3, 2020

Mother Asks Feds To Investigate IMPD Killing Of Dreasjon Reed

Demetree Wynn, mother of Dreasjon "Sean" Reed, speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in near the site where  Reed was killed, at West 62nd Street and North Michigan Road in Indianapolis.  - Eric Weddle/WFYI News

Demetree Wynn, mother of Dreasjon "Sean" Reed, speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in near the site where  Reed was killed, at West 62nd Street and North Michigan Road in Indianapolis. 

Eric Weddle/WFYI News

Attorneys representing the family of a black man killed by Indianapolis police last month spoke out Wednesday and said they are asking the federal government to investigate his death.

Attorneys representing the family say they don't trust the city is properly reviewing the shooting death and are demanding the release of the autopsy report. 

Dreasjon “Sean” Reed was shot to death while running from Indianapolis police following a car chase on May 6. The 21-year-old was live streaming on Facebook while thousands of people watched as he was killed on the city's northwest side. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says they fired a taser that appeared to be ineffective and that gunshots were exchanged.

Reed has become a focal point for Indianapolis protesters who took to the streets starting last Friday, sparked by the death of George Floyd who was killed by a white Minneapolis officer on May 25. Reed's name is often chanted during marches. His name is spray painted on buildings throughout downtown.

Attorney Fatima Johnson said evidence she and another attorney collected proves Reed did not shoot at the police.

"Did not point a gun, did not brandish a gun, at an officer. He did not," Johnson said. "The narrative you’ve heard is incorrect."

Johnson and Swaray Conteh, family attorneys, would not say what evidence they have. Conteh says on March 28 he requested the federal government take over the case.

"We sent a formal letter to the Justice Department requesting that they intervene immediately and investigate this case," Conteh said at the press conference.

Conteh says he's had trouble getting the cooperation of IMPD.

"And we know the reason for that -- they are trying to conceal relevant information, ensure that the information and the evidence be diluted," Conteh says.

Marion County’s Prosecutor Ryan Mears asked a county court to appoint an independent prosecutor to handle the investigation into Reed's death, but it has not yet happened. Last week Mayor Joe Hogsett said he understood the Reed family was frustrated, but that no further information would be released until the independent prosecutor was in place.

Hours after the press conference, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor called for the immediate appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee a criminal investigation into Reed’s death. Taylor says it is “unacceptable” it has not happened yet.

"Nearly a month since the Marion County Prosecutor's Office declined to review the criminal investigation of Mr. Reed’s death, we continue to await the appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee this process," Taylor said in a statement. "Our community is rightly calling for the release of information and the fulfillment of our commitment to a transparent investigation with monitoring from federal authorities. This simply cannot occur without the direction and oversight of an independent prosecutor."

Conteh says he filed a court motion Sunday for the name of the officer who shot Reed to be released. Conteh also wants the names of all police officers at the scene, West 62nd Street and North Michigan Road, within 30 minutes of the shooting, and the name of the officer heard on the Facebook live stream making a comment about Reed's body after the fatal shooting.

The police department suspended the officer who made the comment. 

Demetree Wynn, Reed's mother, cried out as she described seeing her son’s body in the morgue. “They shot his eyes out," Wynn said. She identified him by looking at his teeth.

"I know what his teeth look like. I know every hair on his head. Nobody wants to see their kid look like that," she says. "They couldn't fix his face."

Wynn says her son did not deserve to be killed by police.

"You can’t tell me you are perfect. If you tell me you’re perfect, you are lying," she yelled "Just like IMPD is lying."

IMPD says Reed was driving erratically when police started pursuing the vehicle he was driving. Reed, according to the department, exited Interstate 65 speeding and driving recklessly. The chase ended on the northwest side of Indianapolis where Reed left the vehicle and was fatally shot after a short chase by police.

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