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'Disappointed' and 'disgusted': Attorneys dispute grand jury finding in death of Dreasjon Reed

Attorneys said in a news conference Saturday that multiple witnesses contradict a grand jury's finding that Reed shot at police before they shot and killed him.

INDIANAPOLIS — Attorneys for the family of Dreasjon Reed held a virtual news conference Saturday to respond to Tuesday's announcement that a grand jury had decided the IMPD officer who shot and killed Reed in May would not face criminal charges.

IMPD Officer Dejoure Mercer shot and killed Reed on May 6 after a vehicle pursuit. Reed streamed part of the police chase where he ended up stopping the car at 62nd Street and Michigan Road on the city's northwest side.  

During the news conference, Fatima Johnson disputed the grand jury's finding that Reed shot at officers during the exchange of gunfire that killed him.

Johnson said at least 10 eyewitnesses said Reed did not shoot at police and said she was "disappointed" and "disgusted" with the grand jury's decision.

"I am mostly disappointed in the fact that we are not surprised," Johnson said. "I am beyond disgusted that Dreasjon’s family was denied justice, that Dreasjon will not be afforded the privilege of finding justice inside a criminal courtroom."

Shell casings recovered at the scene came from two guns, according to IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. Two of the casings came from Reed's gun, and video analysis by Indiana State Police indicated Reed fired at police. 

State Police took over the investigation at the request of Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury. Their investigators provided surveillance video from nearby businesses and Reed's Facebook Live video for evidence presented to the grand jury.

"We've looked at the evidence, even their own statements. It is very clear that Dreasjon did not shoot at officer Mercer at all," said Swaray Conteh, one of Reed's family attorneys.

Reed's family attorneys said they will focus on the next step in seeking justice — the civil lawsuit.

"Dreasjon's family is heartbroken but the fight will continue and now it is our turn. It will not be an easy fight, but we are ready," Johnson said.  

Reed's mother, Demetree Wynn, filed the federal lawsuit in June. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson dismissed IMPD from the lawsuit, citing that city agencies are protected from certain laws.   

Mercer and other officers, including Chief Taylor, are part of the civil suit. 

After Saturday's news conference, marchers gathered for a peaceful protest against the grand jury's decision.