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Family of Dreasjon Reed asks judge to release names of IMPD officers involved in fatal shooting

Family's lawyers demand more progress in case
Dreasjon Reed.JPG
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jun 02, 2020

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Mr. Reed's first name. WRTV regrets the error.

INDIANAPOLIS — The family of Dreasjon Reed, a 21-year-old Indianapolis man who police fatally shot in May, asked a judge to release the names of the officers directly and indirectly involved in his death, and on Tuesday, attorneys representing Reed's family demanded faster action in the investigation.

The Law Firm of Fatima Johnson, issued a press release Tuesday saying too many questions remain unanswered nearly one month after Reed's death at the intersection of West 62nd Street and Michigan Road.

Specifically, lawyers are asking why the Marion County Coroner has not released Reed's autopsy report. The attorneys also said they have not been given any details concerning Mayor Joe Hogsett's request for the FBI and Department of Justice to monitor IMPD's investigation.

As a result, the lawyers continue to question the police department's account of the incident.

The statement from Fatima Johnson said attorneys have spoken to many people who witnessed the shooting. All the witnesses, according to Fatima Johnson, dispute that Reed showed a weapon or shot one before he was shot by police.

Reaction came quickly from IMPD.

"And as recently as last week, IMPD investigators were in contact with attorneys for the Reed family and were not made aware of such witnesses or evidence," said Craig McCartt, Deputy Chief of Investigations.

McCartt said the department has "repeatedly" asked that any members of the community who may have witnessed the incident or who may know of additional video, share that information with investigators. So far, said McCartt, no one has come forward.

"We also hear those in the community understandably asking for the release of more information," McCartt said. "Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, it will be the responsibility of the special prosecutor to make those determinations and, unfortunately, no special prosecutor has been named subsequent to the decision made by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to decline oversight over the investigation."

Meanwhile, in documents filed in Marion Superior Court, Reed's family wants the court to compel the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to publicly release the name of the officer who shot Reed on May 6 while he ran following a pursuit.

They also requested the identities of the officer who was punished for saying on video, "I think it's going to be a closed casket, homie," along with all other officers who arrived to the scene within 30 minutes after the shooting.

An attorney for Reed's family said the information would "allow the court to select a special prosecutor who would be fair and impartial and also not burdened by the appearance of impropriety." On May 8, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

Mears told Call 6 Investigates' Rafael Sanchez that the prosecutor's office filed a motion for an independent prosecutor about 36 hours after the case was filed. He said a judge is now in charge of finding an independent prosecutor who is willing to take the case.

"I think it's important to note that a prosecutor has to be willing to accept that appointment," Mears said. "I'm sure the judge is reaching out to numerous people across the state, but it's something that someone has to be willing to accept to take on this responsibility, and I would imagine that's probably some of the reason that there's a delay. There's no specific time frame in terms of a decision must be made by this date or this time period."

In the filing, the attorney also said Reed "did not shoot at any police officer" and accused IMPD Chief Randal Taylor and others in the department of "bad faith smearing" of Reed.

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Reed was shot following a police pursuit that began when IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams saw Reed driving a Toyota Corolla at a high rate of speed on Interstate 65 near West 30th Street. Taylor was in a vehicle directly behind Adams at the time.

A pursuit began, which Reed streamed live on Facebook. After an IMPD supervisor called off the pursuit when speeds increased, an officer saw Reed park his car behind a business near West 62nd Street and Michigan Road.

IMPD detectives said the officer ordered Reed to stop, but he took off running while still recording on Facebook Live.

The officer used his taser on Reed, which police said was followed by an exchange of gunfire between Reed and the officer. Reed was struck multiple times and died, while the officer was not injured. Police said a gun was found near Reed's body, which they said he used to fire at the officer.

Reed's Facebook Live broadcast continued to record on his phone after his death. An officer could be heard saying to another officer, "It's going to be a closed casket, homie," before the live stream was stopped by a detective at the scene.

On May 14, IMPD announced the officer who made the comment would be suspended.

Reed's death was one of three deadly incidents involving IMPD officers in less than eight hours on May 6 and 7.

Protesters gathered near the scene of the shooting in the days following Reed's death. Demonstrators have protested both the deaths of Reed and George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis, the past four days in downtown Indianapolis.

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