News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News


Lawmakers, community leaders react to fatal Indianapolis police shooting

Posted at 1:35 PM, May 07, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Multiple elected officials, local celebrities and organizations have released statements about Wednesday evening’s fatal police shooting.

Mayor Joe Hogsett:

“Last night, our city experienced a series of tragedies that raise understandable questions and once again reveal the scars of mistrust left behind by a national legacy of discrimination against communities of color.

As these incidents are investigated and reviewed by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, we are committed to ensuring that these processes are transparent and that information is released as it becomes available.

My prayers are with the families of those killed and with the police officers involved. These moments produce heartache for all and passion for many. As we recommit ourselves to building bridges between our police force and the neighborhoods they serve, I urge residents to channel their sadness and frustrations into peaceful change.”

CIty-County Council President Vop Osili:

"We are all saddened tonight at the violent loss of a young life. While we wait for the investigative process to unfold and the facts to become fully understood, our thoughts tonight are with the family and friends of a young man whose future will never be realized. Events like today's leave all of us shaken--public officials, local residents, and members of law enforcement alike--and cause us all to recognize that every life lost in our community is a tragedy."

Actor and comedian Mike Epps:

ACLU of Indiana:

“We join many in the community by calling for a prompt, thorough, and transparent investigation into the deadly shooting of Sean Reed. The public deserves to get a detailed account of why this man was shot and what actions Indianapolis Police took to avoid yet another fatal shooting.

“Whether someone is unarmed or armed, compliant or resistant, police officers should be properly trained in de-escalation tactics and turn to the use of force only as a last resort, not a first option.

“We see time and time again that excessive force by police disproportionately impacts black and brown community members. Law enforcement in Indiana should treat all communities with dignity, employ restraint on police power, and use only the degree of force necessary to maintain the community’s safety. Transformational changes are desperately needed in our approach to public safety.”

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind.

"There’s a lot we are still learning about the police shooting today in Northwest Indy. But here’s what we know for sure: Simply being Black in America should not be a death sentence, but for countless people, it is. I will continue to monitor the situation."

Democratic Indiana Sen. Greg Taylor:

“This is a devastating situation, and during this time of continued frustration with the pandemic, we have to be respectful of this family's loss and keep them in our prayers. While there are still some details of this incident that are unknown, we know that a black man’s life has once again been taken and that his family and community deserve answers,” Sen. Taylor said. “I was able to meet and speak with one of Sean's relatives yesterday, and his family is understandably feeling pain. Unfortunately, situations like this are becoming too common and incidents that could end in de-escalation are instead ending in death.

“Right now, members of my community are calling for answers and justice, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department must work swiftly to provide both. There needs to be a thorough and sound investigation into this police shooting. Anything less than clear action to uncover the details of this incident will be unacceptable."

Democratic Indiana Sen. Bean Breaux:

INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, an Indianapolis police officer fatally shot black resident, Sean Reed, prompting protests from community members. State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis), a member of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, was heartbroken at the news of another black Hoosier shot in Indianapolis.

"Blood is crying out from the streets for justice," Sen. Breaux said. "While the details surrounding this most recent officer-involved shooting are still unclear, what is well-established and clearly known is that another African-American has died at the hands of someone whose oath is to protect and serve.

"In the wake of the tragic shooting of Officer Leath, I, along with so many others, empathize with IMPD and recognize the sacrifices they and their families make every single day, but these shootings must stop. Unnecessary force that results in death must stop. Somewhere in the training and implementation of their duties, something is amiss and awry. Chief Taylor, I implore you to figure this out. I implore you to use every resource, physical and capital, to cease this abomination and stop the killing of young black men of Indianapolis."

Republican Sen. Aaron Freeman, District 32

"Last night in Indianapolis we once again so an unacceptable level of violence. I encourage everyone to allow law enforcement to conduct their investigation before jumping to conclusions. From my time serving in the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, and specifically, the Grand Jury division, past experience tells me IMPD will conduct a comprehensive investigation and will arrive at the truth. My prayers are with the officers involved and the friends and families of those who lost their life."

Belinda Drake, candidate for Indiana Senate District 32:

"The shooting and death of Sean Reed yesterday is a terrible tragedy for the Northwest side, for the City of Indianapolis and for communities of color across the country. Black Hoosiers should not have to fear for their lives, only to have them ripped away through the use of force and violence.

As Hoosiers, we have a responsibility to recognize that Sean Reed is a victim of an ongoing American history where people of color are murdered without exception and without justice. He is a victim of a long history of events that just will not quit. He could have been any of us; our brothers and sisters, our parents or our grandparents and that stark reality is where the deep hurt resides for the black community. We continue to believe in the dream of a better American society while we simultaneously watch unnecessary violence take the lives of our brothers and sisters.

Sean Reed was a father, a son, a brother, an American, a veteran, and a patriot who proudly served his country in the US Airforce. His death has a shocking effect that ripples through the hearts of black parents across the country and especially those parents with sons. We must call upon both the Indiana State Police Department and the US Department of Justice to conduct an independent, timely, and thorough investigation into the death of Sean Reed so we can move towards justice.

I cannot imagine the dark cloud of despair and grief that must be felt by Sean’s family and his friends at this time. Their lives have been turned inside out and upended. I will continue to lift up Sean and his family in my prayers: you do not walk alone down this path. I know there is nothing that I can say that will console you at this time, but I do hope you find solace in the days and weeks to come. My deepest sympathies are with all of you.

Over the next few days, our community must unite around the principles of fairness and justice. The shock of Sean Reed’s death cannot become satiated by a mere hashtag that is consumed by the daily grind of the media cycle. We must become informed and engaged so we can advocate for solutions to this injustice. The State of Indiana has the unique ability to remedy inequalities but we must empower bold change.

In the days to come, I will launch a plan that is aimed at ending violence in Indiana and centers on how we can make a better LIFE* for all Hoosiers. As your Senator I will step up to protect people from unnecessary violence and offer real solutions for our communities.

The State legislature must pass legislation that mandates the use of body cams on LEOs statewide and couple that with progressive policies to document, store, and manage the video footage. We must invest in our police force through the initial and sustained training of police officers (including scenario-based training), decriminalize activities non-threatening to public safety, establish progressive approaches to mental health crises, and establish universal standards and reporting for the use of force.

The time has come for real work and progress on these issues. We have the ability to make change that saves lives and ends violence but we must have leaders who are willing to do this work."