(INDIANAPOLIS) — A grand jury has declined to indict an Indianapolis police officer who fatally shot a man in May during a foot chase after police said the 21-year-old exchanged gunfire with the officer.
The grand jury’s decision not to indict Dejoure Mercer, the Black officer who shot and killed Dreasjon Reed on May 6, was announced Tuesday by special prosecutor Rosemary Khoury. Reed also was Black.
Reed’s shooting was not recorded by any police camera because the department only began implementing a body camera program in August. But Reed livestreamed an earlier car chase and part of the foot chase on Facebook.
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Khoury, who was appointed to oversee the investigation into Reed’s fatal shooting, had announced on Aug. 21 that she had requested that a grand jury be impaneled to handle the final stage of that investigation and consider whether an indictment should be brought against Mercer.
“Fairness. From day one that’s been my goal,” Khoury told reporters Tuesday. “No one wins here. I hope that anyone who was a part of this entire process can look at this and feel comfortable that the investigation was done in an impartial manner. That’s exactly what my team and I did over the past five months.”
Indy10 Black Lives Matter gathered several dozen peaceful protestors just north of Monument Circle following the announcement Tuesday evening. The group organized numerous protests in Indianapolis following Reed’s death.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has said Reed was fatally shot by Mercer in an exchange of gunfire with that officer during a foot chase that followed a vehicle pursuit. Attorneys for Reed’s family have insisted that he didn’t exchange gunfire with Mercer before the officer shot him.
Reed’s mother, Demetree Wynn, filed a wrongful death federal lawsuit in June against the city, its police department and four officers, including Mercer. It alleges the department failed to adequately train, screen and supervise officers, including Mercer, to prevent them from engaging in excessive or deadly force.
Her complaint also names Steven Scott, another Black officer, who was disciplined after he was captured on video after Reed’s shooting saying: “I think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie,” an apparent reference to a closed-casket funeral.
A federal judge later removed the city of Indianapolis as a defendant in that lawsuit, citing past court rulings that say city agencies are protected from certain lawsuits.
“I don’t know how Mr. Reed’s mother feels, but I’m a mother of two Black boys,” Khoury said to a reporter’s question. “I’m also very empathetic toward officer Mercer. I know that had to be a difficult position to be in.”
Khoury, who’s a deputy prosecutor in central Indiana’s Madison County, was appointed in June to investigate Reed’s fatal shooting after Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears sought a special prosecutor.
Mears said that Chief Randal Taylor’s role as a material witness