INDIANAPOLIS – Attorneys and the family of Dreasjon Reed accused the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department of lying about the investigation into his death during a news conference Friday near the scene of the shooting.
Reed was fatally shot on May 6 after leading police on a chase while livestreaming on Facebook.
IMPD maintained that Reed, 21, had a gun and fired at officers before he was shot and killed. Reed’s family and attorneys strongly disputed the department’s version of events.
Attorney Fatima Johnson called IMPD’s narrative. “untrue.”
“I’m here to say to you today unequivocally that Dreasjon Reed, Sean Reed, did not shoot a gun, did not point a gun, did not brandish a gun at an officer,” Johnson said. “He did not. The narrative that you’ve heard is incorrect, is false, is misleading. It did not happen.”
Attorney Johnson shared video by two women who claim they witnessed Reed being killed by an IMPD officer. The video does not show the actual shooting, but the witnesses commented on the shooting while sitting in traffic several hundred feet away on Michigan Road.
“They shot this man in the back for no reason,” said one of the women who hasn’t been identified. “He was on the ground shaking and they still shot this man.”
“Dreasjon Reed was murdered in this very spot,” said Fatima Johnson.
Johnson said Reed was a former airman and a licensed gun holder. State Police wouldn’t confirm if Reed had a proper license to carry, but Reed did have warrants for his arrest at the time of the shooting.
Reed had frequently posed on social media with a very distinctive handgun that police claim they recovered from the scene of the shooting.
“Dreasjon Reed, if he did have a gun, had the right to have one,” Johnson said. “That’s very important. I want you to understand that we come back again and again to the scene of what happened because it was an injustice that happened here that day on May 6.”
Reed’s mother admitted her son wasn’t perfect, but also accused the department of hiding the truth.
“You can’t tell me you’re perfect or you’re lying, just like IMPD is lying,” said Reed’s mother Demetree Wynn. “The more lies you tell, the truth is going to come out. No matter what. Everybody wants to know what I have to say. That’s what I have to say.”
Reed’s family wants the Marion County coroner’s report and a transparent investigation. They’re demanding the name of the officer who shot Reed and the name of another officer heard making a joke about a “closed casket” after the shooting.
“We’ve been having trouble getting cooperation of IMPD and the reason is they’re trying to conceal relevant information,” said attorney Swaray Conteh.
Attorney Johnson said Reed was shot during a robbery last year and accused IMPD of failing to do anything about a group that was trying to intimidate himself near his family’s home. Johnson said Reed was told that the group was on a public sidewalk and allowed to stand there.
Court records in that case indicate Reed failed to cooperate with police after being shot and refused to help identify the shooter because he wasn’t a “snitch.”
Reed had “minimal” faith in the police department to protect him, according to Johnson who also said that left his family with doubts about IMPD’s ability to deal honestly with the case.
“I don’t know that I would dispute that he ran and was tased and was at some point on the ground. I don’t know how that changes anything,” said IMPD chief Randal Taylor. “I know from the beginning we’ve asked if they have videos to share those things with us.”
Chief Taylor admitted he hadn’t spoken to the witnesses in the newly released video, but did agree it’s unacceptable a special prosecutor hasn’t already been appointed to oversee the investigation.
“The main thing is I don’t believe IMPD has anything to hide so we’ll cooperate with whoever the special prosecutor is,” said Taylor.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor called for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the case:
“Nearly a month since the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office declined to review the criminal investigation of Mr. Reed’s death, we continue to await the appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee this process. Our community is rightly calling for the release of information and the fulfillment of our commitment to a transparent investigation with monitoring from federal authorities. This simply cannot occur without the direction and oversight of an independent prosecutor.
This is unacceptable. Our community and this police department deserve better from the criminal justice system.
I join our community members in calling on the Marion County Superior Court to immediately appoint a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation as it proceeds, release information as soon as is possible, and make a swift and thorough charging determination based on the facts of the case.”IMPD Chief Randal Taylor
Reed’s family attorney urged everyone to remain peaceful, but also encouraged people to call the mayor, the police and their city councilperson to demand transparency in the case.