Family of Dreasjon Reed, Black Man Killed by Indianapolis Police Officer, File Lawsuit Against City's Police Department
The family of Dreasjon "Sean" Reed, the 21-year-old black man who was killed by a police officer in Indianapolis in May, has filed a lawsuit against the department for "excessive and fatal violence" in his murder.
The lawsuit, filed on June 16, Reed's birthday, alleges that the Indianapolis Police Department (IMPD) and the city of Indianapolis have not properly trained officers in civil engagement and de-escalation.
"The IMPD and the City of Indianapolis had a duty, but failed to implement and / or enforce policies, practices, and procedures for IMPD officials who respected Reed's constitutional rights to assistance and protection," the lawsuit said.
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"This fight is not over yet. His life is not over yet. And don't forget who my son is because you can't see him, ”said Reed's mother Demetree Wynn during a press conference on Tuesday. “We talked about how this day should go. But I can't stand with him here because he was taken away from me. "
The lawsuit is taking place amid widespread protests and outrage by police across the country about the shooting and killing of unarmed black men and women.
On May 6, police replied to reports from Reed who allegedly drove dangerously on an Indianapolis interstate. They started chasing his vehicle. Reed shared live video of the chase on Facebook while driving, believing he was speaking directly to viewers while streaming. When he parked his car, he gave the audience his address and heard him say, "Please come and get me."
According to the police, Reed ignored the orders from the officers to stop when he got out of his car, although no such orders were heard in Reed's video. While he is running, someone can be heard screaming in the background to stop. Shots are heard shortly thereafter. At the time of the incident, the police said there was "an exchange of fire between the driver and the officer." (The lawsuit claims that Reed is wearing two cell phones and a white T-shirt instead.) Reed was shot, but the officer was not hit.
The official who persecuted him and was named De'joure Marquise Mercer in the lawsuit fired his taser at Reed, the lawsuit said, and Reed began to cramp on the ground. Officer Mercer then began "firing multiple shots at Reed with his firearm," it said. "Reed died immediately."
The lawsuit also claims that Mercer never instructed Reed to drop a weapon or warn him that he would shoot.
After the shootout, the livestream video shows a conversation between officers who react to the scene. A male voice, who the suit calls Officer Steven Scott, says, "I think it will be a closed coffin homie."
The suit refers to these comments and calls them "callous disregard for Reed's life". IMPD chief Randal Taylor said at the time of the incident that official Scott would be subject to disciplinary action and called the comments "unacceptable."
The IMPD did not immediately respond to TIME's request to comment on the measures taken since then or to respond to the Reed family complaint.
During the press conference, Fatima Johnson, a lawyer for Reed's family, said the department must be held accountable.
"It is a shame that we had to do all of this to maintain the transparency that we were promised," Johnson said during the press process. "But we are ready to do this and more to get answers and to meet Dreasjon today."
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