INDIANAPOLIS — A key demand from local protesters was met Wednesday when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Chief Randal Taylor released the name of the officer involved in the shooting that resulted in the death of Dreasjon Reed.
The name of an officer heard making a comment following the shooting was also released.
Taylor then announced the creation of a formal policy as to how and when IMPD officers involved in critical incidents will be identified to the public in the future.
“As Chief of Police, my responsibility is to protect the safety of all in our city, including our IMPD officers. With that in mind, I am following up on my commitment to be transparent with the community we serve,” said Chief Randal Taylor.
The announcement comes after weeks of protests around the city, largely centered around the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Last week, attorneys and the family of Dreasjon Reed have accused IMPD of lying about the investigation into his death during a news conference Friday near the scene of the shooting.
The following day, Marion Superior Court Judge Heather Welch appointed a special prosecutor in the death investigation of Reed.
Taylor said that an updated threat assessment related to the officer-involved shooting on May 6 was made before announcing the names.
IMPD said the involved officer was Dejoure Mercer, with four years of service.
Steven Scott, 15 years of service, was identified as the officer disciplined for the comments made at the scene after the incident.
Reed’s father, Jamie Reed, spoke with CBS4 about the new information.
“I think it’s a good thing, but at the same time, I mean, it feels, feels kind of stinky to me. I still feel like they’re trying to cover up a lot of things because they know they was wrong,” he said. “I want to see prosecution. I mean I want them to be, you know, held accountable for what they did. That’s my main thing, I want the people involved to be held accountable for my son’s murder.
“I’m glad they threw that information out there, but at the same time, I mean, it took too long. You know, and I mean, anybody with a reasonable mind would think they’re trying to hide something.”
Chief Taylor also provided the following statement:
For the last twelve days, IMPD has listened as our community advocated for change. As a result, IMPD is working to formalize a policy that outlines when and how officers involved in critical incidents should be identified to the public. This new policy will solidify IMPD’s practice of conducting a threat assessment following a critical incident to ensure officer safety and require additional assessments, if necessary, in order to ensure information is provided the public as soon as is reasonable. After any critical incident, the IMPD Intelligence Unit conducts an assessment of threats toward any officer involved, which includes an analysis of social media, community, and law enforcement information.
The Reed family’s attorney released this statement responding to the new information:
Although they are way behind schedule, and although we would have preferred to have been contacted directly instead of finding this out in the news, we are pleased that the names of these officers have finally been released. This validates our suspicion that the person who senselessly murdered Dreasjon Reed was a poorly trained police officer who, in his eagerness to please his boss, senselessly killed Dreasjon. Officer Mercer must be arrested immediately. He must be held accountable for the murder he committed. As for Officer Scott, his punishment was not sufficient. He is a prime example of IMPD’s pervasive culture of degrading people, especially Black people. He must be fired immediately.
The release of the names of these officers is also not sufficient. The Chief of Police and Deputy Chief of Police must abstain from any part of the investigation because they are material witnesses. The Special Prosecutor seems to be moving in the right direction; however, we do not believe that reassigning the investigation to the Indiana State Police goes far enough. We need an independent, federal investigation to be conducted. Without this investigation being handed over to a truly independent body this is all just pomp and circumstance. We have said from the start that we are interested only in the truth and the truth we shall have. We will not stop until we get it.
IMPD said the new disclosure policy will become public as soon as it is finalized and approved.