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Family, attorneys question Indianapolis police account of Dreasjon Reed's death

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 23:44:43-04

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 — As new video is released in the Dreasjon Reed case, lawyers who represent his family continue to cast doubt on what IMPD claims happened during that fatal exchange.

“They should not have fired a taser at him especially given he was posing no physical threat to them,” Fatima Johnson, one of the Reed family attorneys, said. “They should not have shot him."

Surveillance video obtained by Call 6 Investigates is just one piece of the complicated puzzle, but it gives a new and brief look at the moments a vehicle pursuit turned into a foot chase that eventually ended with the 21-year-old being shot and killed by an IMPD police officer.

Surveillance video from the day of the Dreasjon Reed shooting

READ | Family claims new surveillance video proves Dreasjon Reed couldn't have fired a weapon at IMPD | New surveillance video shows moments before Dreasjon Reed killed by IMPD officer

Call 6 Investigates spoke with Reed’s mother, Demetree Wynn, and the family’s attorneys — Fatima Johnson and Swaray Conteh, who all believe an independent investigation is the only way to uncover the truth.

As the vehicle pursuit ended, the surveillance video shows Dreasjon Reed in a foot chase with Metro Police.

Reed is seen running with a t-shirt in his left hand and two cell phones in his right hand based on the Facebook Live stream that continued broadcasting.

Closeup surveillance video from the day of the Dreasjon Reed shooting

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

Officer DeJoure Mercer, whose face we're blocking until IMPD releases his department picture, can be seen running behind Reed.

“There are witnesses. There's eyewitness testimony, it’s very powerful evidence as to what happened,” Johnson said. “Of course, the officer who did the shooting will say that Dreasjon Reed shot at him because he knows the use of force, the use of force was not authorized, and he will be in trouble. The use of taser was too much. He didn't pose a threat."

That's not how Metro Police sees it.

IMPD says they attempted to stop the foot pursuit by tasing Reed, but it didn't work. They also say Reed shot at them before he was killed in an exchange of gunfire.

The series of events from May 6 is now the focus of an Indiana State Police investigation, at the request of a Special Prosecutor.

Reed’s mother, Demetree Wynn, says she did not want IMPD investigating the shooting and she’s glad that a special prosecutor was appointed, although she doesn’t understand why it took so long to appoint one.

“They appointed Special Prosecutor Khoury. I’m appreciative that they did, however that was requested way before when they gave it to us. Why did you wait so long? There are other cases that are nationally known right now, just because we are in Indianapolis, why didn’t they do it when we requested it?” Wynn said.

Wynn is still hoping that the Department of Justice will step in on the investigation.

“We originally asked for federal oversight, because it’s all Indiana. It’s all Indiana and being in Indiana, IMPD and ISP – it all says Indiana,” Wynn said.

“The system is not set-up for people — for the police to police themselves,” Johnson said. “That doesn't mean we stop fighting, it doesn't mean we stop working towards that. But the way it exists now, especially without federal oversight — without that independent voice it will be difficult."