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No Charges for Indianapolis Officer Who Fatally Shot Dreasjon Reed After Chase

A grand jury in Indianapolis decided not to indict a police officer who in May fatally shot a 21-year-old man who the police said had shot at the officer, officials announced on Tuesday.

The killing was one of three fatal encounters between civilians and the police in the city during a traumatic eight-hour stretch, touching off protests and calls for reform.

A special prosecutor overseeing the case, Rosemary Khoury, said at a news conference that she had presented “a very thorough, comprehensive” investigation to the grand jury and that its decision means they had determined “there is insufficient evidence to indict or accuse” the officer of a crime.

At times, Ms. Khoury, a deputy prosecutor in Madison County, Ind., appeared to hold back tears as she announced the grand jury’s decision. At one point she told reporters: “I have to believe that justice was done because I trust our system. I trust our judicial system.”

Ms. Khoury expressed sympathy for the family of the victim, Dreasjon Reed, and the officer, Dejoure Mercer, who, like her, are Black.

“I don’t know how Mr. Reed’s mother feels, but I’m a mother of two Black boys,” Ms. Khoury said. “I also am very empathetic toward Officer Mercer. I know that had to be a difficult position to be in.”

The fatal encounter took place on the night of May 6 and led to protests in the city. Mr. Reed streamed parts of the episode on Facebook Live.

Ms. Khoury said on Tuesday that state law prevented her from discussing the evidence presented to the grand jury, and she declined to say what charges she had asked them to consider against the officer. She also declined to say how much consideration the grand jury had given to the widely seen video of the encounter that appeared on Facebook.

About 6 p.m. on May 6, the police department’s chief and deputy chief were both driving unmarked cars and noticed Mr. Reed driving recklessly. When they tried to pull him over, he kept driving and began recording.

The police called off the car chase because it was considered too dangerous. But as Mr. Reed left the car and ran away, Officer Mercer, who was nearby, gave chase and shot and killed him.

Randal Taylor, the police chief, later said that a gun had been found near Mr. Reed and that it had been fired twice but that it was not clear “which shots were fired when.”

Thousands of people were tuned in to Mr. Reed’s livestream when he was shot, but much of the encounter took place off-camera. The police said no body or dash cameras had recorded the killing.

The video did capture a morbid joke from a detective, out of view of the camera, after Mr. Reed was shot. “Think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie,” the detective said, apparently referring to Mr. Reed’s funeral.

The Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday that it welcomed the decision by the grand jury, though it acknowledged that “this result may be frustrating for some of our residents.”

The department also said it hoped the “full transparency” from the special prosecutor in this case as well as from the police superintendent would “help to move our city forward, improve the relations between our officers and neighborhoods, and bring us closer to healing the division in our community.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indianapolis said in a statement, “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.”

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting.


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