An Indianapolis police officer who fatally shot a Black man after a high-speed chase earlier this year was cleared Tuesday by a grand jury, officials said.
Special prosecutor Rosemary Khoury said the group, which was empaneled to investigate the May 6 killing of Dreasjon Reed, 21, returned a “no bill,” concluding that officer Dejoure Mercer should not face criminal charges.
“I have to believe that justice was done because I trust our system,” she told reporters Tuesday. “I trust our judicial system.”
Because the grand jury process is secret, Khoury said she could not disclose what charges were presented to the group.
During a sometimes-tearful news conference, she described the case as a “heavy burden” and said she was the mother of two Black boys. She added that she also felt empathy for Mercer, who is Black.
Sean Reed.via Facebook
Lawyers for Reed’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening. They filed a wrongful death lawsuit in August, saying the department hadn’t properly trained and supervised Mercer, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The department was later removed from the suit after a judge, citing past court rulings, concluded that city agencies are protected from certain lawsuits, The Star reported.
After Tuesday’s announcement, the Indianapolis branch of the NAACP called for those who disagreed with the grand jury’s findings to protest peacefully.
“We, like Prosecutor Khoury, believe there are no winners in this tragic circumstance,” the group’s president, Chrystal Ratcliffe, said in a statement.
“We need an ongoing dialogue that continues to reimagine policing within the greater Indianapolis community,” she said.
Authorities initiated the May 6 pursuit after a car was seen driving recklessly on an interstate. After a chase during which Reed topped speeds of 80 mph — and streamed on Facebook Live — he pulled into a parking lot and began running from officers.
“Somebody come get my stupid a–,” he could be heard saying at one point. “Please, come get me. I just parked this motherf—–. I’m gone.”
Authorities said Reed didn’t comply with officers’ orders to stop. After a stun gun was used to no effect, police said there was an exchange of gunfire and Reed was killed.
An Indiana State Police investigation concluded that Reed fired twice at Mercer, who was not injured. It wasn’t clear who shot first.
A lawyer for Reed’s family, Fatima Johnson, has denied the account, telling reporters that he “did not point, shoot, threaten a police officer that day, and he did not deserve to die.”
A detective at the scene was suspended after being captured on Reed’s livestream saying, “I think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie.”