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New surveillance video shows moments before Dreasjon Reed killed by IMPD officer

ReedGettingOutOfCar.JPG
Posted at 7:29 AM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 12:17:53-04

Reporter’s Note: The 24 seconds of surveillance video shown in this story sparks many questions. In the spirit of transparency, we are sharing our reporting process and what we do and don’t know about the video. WRTV reviewed the surveillance video several times, using our technology to slow down, enhance, and view the footage frame-by-frame. We are reporting what we can see in Dreasjon Reed’s hands after we enhanced the video. We can see a t-shirt in his left hand, and two cell phones in his right hand. We know these are cell phones because when synced with his Facebook Live stream, you see the sky, the ground, and the individual as he runs from police. During the Facebook Live stream in his car, you see what appears to be a weapon. The surveillance video does not make clear whether the weapon was in Reed’s possession as he exited his car and ran. This is why we clearly share the Metro Police report that states Reed fired at them twice and that a weapon was found near his body. We should also point out that IMPD and the Special Prosecutor both received detailed emails from WRTV on Tuesday, June 16th before 3 p.m. explaining in writing what we had and what we planned on reporting. Both are not commenting based on the ongoing investigation.

INDIANAPOLIS — Recently obtained surveillance video shows the moments leading up to the death of Dreasjon Reed, the 21-year-old man killed by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer following a vehicle pursuit in May.

Call 6 Investigates obtained the surveillance video just one day after a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court targeting the City of Indianapolis, IMPD, the police chief, a deputy chief and two officers.

READ | Family of Dreasjon Reed files lawsuit against IMPD for ‘excessive force’ & ‘wrongful death’

The video, which is about 24 seconds in length, shows Reed stopping his vehicle behind ACE Lock & Key near 62nd Street and Michigan Road after leading police on a long chase — which he was also streaming on Facebook Live.

Reed can be seen getting out of his vehicle and running with what appears to be a white t-shirt in his left hand and two cell phones in his right hand, while metro police officer Dejoure Mercer comes running after him.

Surveillance video from Dreasjon Reed shooting with closeup on hands

(Reporter's Note: WRTV reviewed the surveillance video several times, using our technology to slow down, enhance, and view the footage frame-by-frame. We are reporting what we can see in Dreasjon Reed’s hands after we enhanced the video. We can see a t-shirt in his left hand, and two cell phones in his right hand. We know these are cell phones because when synced with his Facebook Live stream, you see the sky, the ground, and the individual as he runs from police.)

READ | Man killed by IMPD was live-streaming chase, moments leading up to shooting

“How in the world could you shoot if you had a t-shirt in one hand and a phone in the other? There is no way. You can’t … You can’t shoot someone,” Wynn said.

The Reed family’s lawyers say the video is helping them build their case against IMPD.

“To us, this shows it’s consistent with what we thought … he did not have the capacity to fire a gun at Officer Mercer because his hands were occupied and he was running,” Fatima Johnson, the family’s attorney told Rafael Sanchez.

The officer’s face is blocked in the video below because IMPD has not yet released his official department photograph.

Closeup surveillance video from the day of the Dreasjon Reed shooting

What the surveillance video does not show is what happened after Reed and Officer Mercer leave camera range — the most critical moments in the encounter.

On May 6, Reed was allegedly spotted by IMPD Chief Randal Taylor and IMPD Chief Kendale Adams driving recklessly.

Taylor and Adams followed Reed as they called for back-up, according to a report issued by IMPD. Both were pulled from the chase when other officers responded and began pursuing Reed.

What unfolded next has thrust Indianapolis into the national spotlight, leading to days of protests and people demanding justice for Dreasjon Reed.

“Dreasjon is an urn now,” Wynn said. “I won’t bury him in the state of Indiana because Indiana took him from me.”

Changes

Dreasjon was known as "Sean" on Facebook Live.

According to his mother, Reed changed his name after he was robbed in January 2019. Wynn says the incident changed him into a completely different person.

“That day changed my son,” Wynn said. “He got to the point he felt like he had to look over his shoulder constantly. That’s when he changed his name to Sean.”

Reed was working at Discount Tire at the time. On January 28, Wynn says Reed cashed his check and was later robbed, leaving him with “significant” injuries.

“I have led a modest life so my children can have a modest life or even a better life than I had,” Wynn said. “So they (the robbers) saw this kid with money and they tried to take it from him, and he was completely different after that.”

The Reed family’s legal team has not shied away from the fact that Reed has a criminal history. Reed had a previous traffic stop out of Marion County from September, and multiple videos on his social media account show him handling a weapon. But the legal team says that has nothing to do with why Reed was killed by police.

Differing accounts of what unfolded on May 6

“I never knew this would be me … I never knew that he would be part of no problem,” said Wynn. “I never thought that I would have to be in the spotlight or that he would be in the spotlight. He likes to be seen, he’s a Facebook live kid. He wants to be on social media.”

Reed’s social media followers were watching that day as he led police on a chase for several miles.

The broadcast continued as he ran from his vehicle and was confronted by officers a short time later.

According to IMPD, that confrontation led to Officer Mercer using a taser on Reed.

Surveillance video from Dreasjon Reed shooting compared with Facebook Live video

Police say Reed shot twice. They also say a gun was recovered from his body which was similar to the ones seen in some of Reed’s social media posts.

Reed’s lawyers claim they still haven’t seen that evidence.

The newly released surveillance video does not show Officer Mercer using a taser on Reed or the alleged gunfire exchange.

“There’s no way he could have turned around and taken two shots at the police officer,” Wynn said. “Even when you look at the video that’s out there, they were not too far from each other. He’s a trained soldier. If he had shot at him, he would have gotten him.”

Reed, a Lawrence Central graduate, served in the Air Force from February through November 2017. Due to privacy rules, the military is not allowed to share why Reed was discharged from service.

Reed’s legal team tells Call 6 Investigates they have witnesses who fill in what happened during the encounter between Reed and Officer Mercer that wasn’t captured on camera.

“We know he was murdered – we are trying to find out if it was a justified murder or unjustified murder. There is nothing I have seen that will tell me that the police had a right to take his life.”

READ | Special prosecutor asks ISP to handle Dreasjon Reed case

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

WRTV has reached out to IMPD and the Special Prosecutor assigned to Dreasjon Reed’s case; both have said they will not be commenting on media stories.

Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury, who was appointed the special prosecutor to oversee the case earlier this month, has asked Indiana state Police to perform the Investigation into the shooting.

The family says they are still waiting for the autopsy report from the Marion County Coroner.

Reed’s legal team has also reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation into the shooting. They have not yet received a response.

"I am Dreasjon Reed"

(Artist: David Jordan / Song: Too Late / Album: Raw)