The special prosecutor named to oversee the May 6 shooting death of a black man by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer asked the Indiana State Police on Wednesday to handle the investigation.
Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury said it is best that an independent agency look into the fatal shooting of Dreasjon Reed, 21.
Indianapolis police on Wednesday identified the officer who shot Reed as four-year veteran Dejoure Mercer.
“In the current climate it is my professional opinion that it is in the best interest of all involved that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department not conduct the investigation in this matter and allow an independent law enforcement agency to assume this responsibility,” Khoury said in a statement released by Indiana State Police. “In order to conduct as thorough and complete of an investigation as possible, I am also asking the community to cooperate with me and with the investigators who are working alongside me.”
Mercer was named the Northwest District Officer of the Year one week before shooting Reed, The Indianapolis Star reported. Police have said Reed was shot in an exchange of gunfire with an officer after a chase.
Another officer, Steven Scott was disciplined after he was captured on video following the shooting saying: “I think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie,” an apparent reference to a closed-casket funeral. Scott, who has 15 years of service, was suspended for five days without pay in June, according to personnel files released to the Star.
Both officers are black, according to the department. Before Wednesday, the department had said it could not release the officers’ names for safety reasons.
Police have said they began pursuing Reed after officers, including Chief Randal Taylor, saw someone driving recklessly on Interstate 65. Supervisors ordered an end to that pursuit because the vehicle was going nearly 90 mph, police said. An officer later spotted the car on a city street and chased Reed on foot before police say Reed and the officer exchanged gunfire. Assistant Chief Chris Bailey has said a gun found near Reed appeared to have been fired at least twice.
Days of protests followed Reed’s killing, which came hours before Indianapolis police officers fatally shot another black man, McHale Rose, 19, and an officer fatally struck a pregnant white woman with his car.
A message seeking comment was left Wednesday for an attorney representing Reed’s family.
Recent Indianapolis protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis also have invoked Reed’s name. Floyd was a handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.