INDIANAPOLIS – A grand jury declined to indict an IMPD officer who shot and killed an Indianapolis man in early May.
"This has not been an easy task," Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury said. "It's been a very heavy burden. ... No one wins. No one wins here."
The announcement about the decision came Tuesday afternoon, after some downtown Indianapolis businesses boarded up their windows in preparation for potential unrest in the city.
Due to the legal processes of a grand jury, Khoury couldn't discuss a lot of the evidence in the case.
Dreasjon Reed was shot following a police pursuit on May 6 on Indianapolis' north side. Reed was streaming live on Facebook as he led police on the chase. The stream continued when Reed exited his vehicle near 62nd Street and Michigan Road.
IMPD says Reed tried to run and the responding officer, identified as Dejoure Mercer, deployed a taser, striking him. IMPD reports allege that after being struck with the taser, Reed fired a gun and Mercer returned fire, striking him multiple times.
In a later press conference conducted by Indiana State Police, the presenter said the evidence showed that Reed fired his gun twice. ISP Lt. Jeff Herron said it sounded like just 14 shots were fired, but after they closely examined the audio from Reed's livestream video, they determined 15 total shots were fired. Two shots were fired at the same time, he said. The video also shows two casings heading different directions. Watch the briefing at the bottom of this page.
Family members have argued that evidence suggests that Reed did not point a weapon at officers, although that evidence has not been shared.
Reed's sister, Jazmine Reed, talked about the impact of the grand jury's decision for her and the family.
"There was no justice served. My brother is no resting well, there's no way," Jazmine Reed said. "So now we have to go on every day. I have to have my son, we have to go on every day with life. My brother can't see his nephew coming into this world, he can't enjoy his niece any more, his mother, his father, his other two sisters."
"I don’t believe there could have been another prosecutor assigned to this case who was as neutral as I am or as objective as I have been over the last five months," Khoury said. "I have truly kept an open mind about this process. I have tried to be as impartial as I possibly could."
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released the following statement about the decision:
“Today my thoughts are with the family of Dreasjon Reed, who continue to grieve the loss of a son, a brother, and a friend. The events that led to the death of Mr. Reed have forced our community to confront the loss of this young life and have raised understandable questions produced by centuries of racism and mistrust.
From the beginning, I advocated for a transparent review of the incident – requesting monitoring from federal authorities and supporting the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Indiana State Police investigation. Today’s announcement by Special Prosecutor Khoury draws this process to a close, with the empaneled grand jury declining to issue an indictment.
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. I offer my sincere thanks to the many faith and community leaders who have advocated for law enforcement reforms, including the creation of a Use of Force Review Board, changes to our Use of Force Policy, the implementation of body cameras, and a citizen-majority General Orders Board. These reforms are meaningful steps forward as we continue to build new trust between Indianapolis neighborhoods and our police department.”
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department issued the following statement:
“We are grateful to Prosecutor Khoury, Indiana State Police Superintendent Carter and all the troopers who participated in this investigation, as well as the citizens who served on the grand jury for ensuring a fair and just investigative process and a transparent outcome.
We also extend our thanks to Indianapolis residents for awaiting the conclusion of this lengthy and intensive process alongside us. We understand that this result may be frustrating for some of our residents, but it is our hope that the full transparency offered by Prosecutor Khoury and Superintendent Carter will help to move our city forward, improve the relationship between our officers and neighborhoods, and bring us closer to healing the division in our community. We look forward to continuing a productive dialogue with our residents and building the types of partnerships with our neighborhoods that prevent violence.”
John F. Kautzman, attorney for IMPD Officer DeJoure Mercer, issued the following statement:
"We appreciate the careful analysis and review of this matter and the Grand Jury's conclusion that Officer Mercer acted legally and reasonably based upon the totality of the circumstances. We've always believed the evidence proved that Mercer was justified in defending himself on the date in question and did not engage in any improper conduct related to this encounter. The evidence showed that he took actions consistent with his training — and more importantly — consistent with the law. He has never before faced criminal charges or any type of departmental discipline for alleged use of excessive force. Indeed, Officer Mercer has served this city diligently and in good faith — with bravery and professionalism.
There are of course no winners when an officer is required to use deadly force in tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situations. We look forward to putting this entire matter behind our client and his fellow officers and hope this will start a process of healing for the entire community of Indianapolis."
Watch the ISP briefing below. Some of the information released includes images and language that will be disturbing to some people:
Watch Khoury discuss the grand jury's findings below: