INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus is joining the African American Coalition of Indianapolis to request an independent, external investigation into a shooting that left a man dead Wednesday.
Dreasjon Reed was shot and killed by police following a chase in Indianapolis. He livestreamed the incident and the final moments leading up to his death.
Police claim an officer tried to use his Taser on Reed, which was ineffective. The police chief insists Reed pulled out a gun, and both men shot at each other.
The shooting, along with another shooting hours later in which police say a teenager ambushed officers, sparked protests around the City-County Building.
State Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) appeared on this week’s edition of IN Focus to discuss the impact of this week’s shooting, and his push in recent years for more body cameras for local police.
“This is a devastating situation, and during this time of continued frustration with the pandemic, we have to be respectful of this family’s loss and keep them in our prayers. While there are still some details of this incident that are unknown, we know that a black man’s life has once again been taken and that his family and community deserve answers,” said Sen. Taylor. “I was able to meet and speak with one of Sean’s relatives yesterday, and his family is understandably feeling pain. Unfortunately, situations like this are becoming too common and incidents that could end in de-escalation are instead ending in death. Right now, members of my community are calling for answers and justice, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department must work swiftly to provide both. There needs to be a thorough and sound investigation into this police shooting. Anything less than clear action to uncover the details of this incident will be unacceptable.”
On Thursday, State Representative Robin Shackleford also issued a statement, requesting an external, independent investigation into the shooting.
“In times of suffering, we must find a way to remain united. We send our deepest condolences to the families of those tragically lost this past week in police-action shootings. These heartbreaking occurrences not only affect our cities, but the entire welfare of our state.
“We join the African American Coalition of Indianapolis and other community groups as they support the family of Dreasjon Reed and mourn his untimely and tragic death. Police-action shootings will always result in a strain between the community and local police personnel, despite any progress that has been made. We are aware of the work that IMPD and community advocacy groups have done by implementing implicit bias training, increasing transparency in posting general orders, and reviewing its use of force policies. However, we believe there must be more done than an internal IMPD investigation for this case.
“We support our fellow advocates in the request for an independent and external investigation. An external investigation is required to thoroughly examine the events of this shooting and to determine if Dreasjon Reed’s civil rights were violated. Justice must be upheld and IMPD must be held accountable for its actions in order for the organization to retain its credibility in our community.
“The IBLC would like to encourage peace and unity during these trying times. While we hear your frustration and we join you in it; we want to remind everyone that during a global pandemic, it is best to avoid large gatherings. The COVID-19 pandemic has been disproportionately affecting our community and we must remain vigilant.
“Please understand that the IBLC is committed to following this case and any law enforcement reform that may result from these recent incidents. This does include the presence of civilians on use of force review panels, body camera usage by all officers, and any other changes that could benefit our community.”Robin Shackleford, chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus