Protesters march through downtown—remaining peaceful—until rain disperses crowd

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Protesters gathered downtown following a grand jury decision not to indict an Indianapolis police officer involved in a fatal shooting in May. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

More than 200 people gathered downtown Tuesday night to peacefully protest a special grand jury decision not to indict an Indianapolis police officer involved in a fatal shooting in May of a man accused of exchanging gunfire with the officer.

The protesters carried signs and chanted as they marched for more than two hours along Meridian, Pennsylvania and Michigan streets, calling for justice for 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed. The march initially continued even as heavy rain began to pelt the crowd, although protesters paused under an overpass on Pennsylvania to get a break from the downpour.

Throughout the evening protesters blocked streets and intersections but remained peaceful. Indianapolis police officers largely hung back, allowing the protesters to move freely.

However, dump trucks with snow plows appeared to be positioned a few blocks away and protesters speculated they would be used to block streets if police decided to crack down on the protesters.

Downtown businesses had prepared for the possibility of vandalism and looting, boarding up windows and blocking off entrances to buildings. But by 9 p.m., there were no reports of the kind of violent behavior and riots downtown experienced in late May and it appeared protesters were starting to disperse.

Protesters said they planned to regroup on Wednesday evening

A number of individuals and organizations that represent African American called for peace on Tuesday, following Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury’s announcement that the grand jury had not found enough evidence to indict Dejoure Mercer, the Black officer who shot Reed, who was also Black.

“In our democracy, activism and peaceful protest are fundamental,” said City-County Council President Vop Osili. “The council urges those exercising their first amendment rights to do so peacefully.”

Indiana State Police, who investigated the shooting, made public several pieces of evidence Tuesday evening that they said show that Reed had pulled a gun during the chase and shot it twice. The evidence shows Mercer shot 13 times at Reed.

The NAACP’s Greater Indianapolis chapter issued a statement saying that it appreciated the state police and special prosecutor’s transparency in the investigation. The group called for nonviolent protests only.

“By remaining peaceful, the overall message of respect and transparency in policing will not get lost,” said Chrystal Ratcliffe, the group’s president.

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, which has a number of members from Indianapolis, also urged against violence.

“While we respect engagement and demonstrations, we want to encourage everyone to be cautious,” the statement said. “The IBLC will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation. We implore everyone to remain safe and remember that we are in the middle of global pandemic. Please treat each other with humanity and kindness.”

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30 thoughts on “Protesters march through downtown—remaining peaceful—until rain disperses crowd

  1. LOLOLOLOL – protesting against a black police officer, a black police chief and a black prosecuting attorney??? what’s the point…. seems to be protesting just for the sake of protesting – you’d help your cause a lot more if you protested for a valid reason….

  2. Ah yes. Let’s raise awareness for our victimhood by protesting in support of a criminal drive-by-shooter who endangered the lives of citizens and the police and was subsequently neutralized as a threat. Definitely helps further the “message”. This is a joke. It has to be a joke, right?

  3. Protesting? What in the world is a police officer to do when a criminal gets off two shots? Is the officer supposed to stand there and take it? SMH. This is what happens when we raise an entire generation where everyone got a trophy growing up. Nice job, parents.

  4. No need to comment. I expect our leadership (Mayor, City Council, Faith community) to set the record straight or at least guide the conversation…. I have faith in you. Indy has been a balanced voice, a settled voice, a fair voice in situations like this…leadership…lead! As my councilor and another friend on the council have discussed, our common ground is Indy…lets focus our efforts there…what is best for our City?…Indy can be an example rather than a statistic. Indypendent…IndyStrong…

    1. A balanced voice? Read Hogsett’s statement and tell me if you think that’s balanced. Give me a break. The guy is kowtowing to the family of a career criminal who actively fired at police officers and endangered the lives of officers and civilians.

    2. David R. – I wish I could agree with you. But if you look at the state of downtown today (and yes I know the pandemic has been the biggest issue with the withdrawl of downtown employees and activity), the complete lack of leadership within the Mayor’s office and City-County Council has made downtown feel more like the scary “roll up the sidewalks at 6 p.m.” downtown of the 1970s. I have great compassion for the homeless and persons whose personal circumstances have created crisis in their lives, but back in the ’70s, downtown was considered dangerous because of aggressive vagrants and a criminal element that was out of control, especially at night. Sound familiar? It’s here again, in 2020, and that’s not on the pandemic — that’s on these politicians, so-called leaders, who lack the fortitude to protect our city and citizens. And on the whole, IMPD has a lot of good, dedicated cops. Sure, there’s bad actors; there are bad actors in every segment of society. But when politicians tell the cops to ‘stand down,’ it’s time for new govt leadership.

  5. Just for grins, I re-read IBJ’s commenting policy in the Editor’s Note. Here is Item #2:

    2. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you submit.
    You will promptly remove any content that you have posted should you discover that it violates these rules or that it is otherwise inappropriate….

    To the best of my knowledge, it is impossible to edit or modify your own comment/post after it has been posted. How is a person to comply Item #2 if you are not given the means by which to do so? At least with the former Disqus format, you could do so.

    1. I agree Bob. So many times I simply wanted to correct a spelling or grammatical error without any ability to do so. I wish they would bring that ability back!

    1. Why do I have the feeling that everything that goes wrong the next four years will still be Trump’s fault lol.

    2. Awe, sorry your feelings are hurt from losing guys. And sorry for being late for the convo. Wesley is on Pacific time.

    3. Hey Wesley it ain’t over till da fat lady sings! When the elections are certified which appears to be weeks away in 7-8 states and the electoral college has casted their votes, then and only then will there be a winner?

    4. Wesley, the Pacific Time resident…seems accurate. He’s gonna lose it when Trump gets 4 more years from all the voter fraud.

  6. The reality is that people like Dresjean Reed are not very smart and consistently engage in behavior and decisions that ensure their lives end poorly. He could just have easily picked a fight with the wrong guy from the hood and ended up shot to death in an alley somewhere, and no one – certainly not IBJ or BLM – would have cared or seen fit to protest or dissect the reasons for his death.

    An unbelievably high percentage of the incidents that the social justice crowd cites as evidence of systemic racism are just examples of unsympathetic characters with extensive records of bad judgment finally having that catch up to them. We don’t have a problem with systemic racism, we have a problem with objectively confronting the fact that society has a cohort of people who exhibit an outsized share of cultural dysfunction that costs the public dearly.

    1. ‘Couldn’t be more accurate or better stated, 21 R. You nailed it.
      For people who would like to do something positive about this, investigate and support Jesse Lee Peterson’s B.O.N.D: Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny. He’s in his 30th year of getting at the root of the problem: Irresponsible Absentee Black Fathers. I support B.O.N.D. with a recurring credit card donation every month. Jesse Peterson is spot-on and deserving of support from anyone who really cares about solving this problem:

  7. 4 Outstanding Felony Warrants, led police on a high speed chase, crashed the car, fled on foot, fired on officers from a stolen, illegal handgun, all while streaming it live on facebook. Darwin Award 2020.

  8. Wait, I thought I was supposed to wake up to rioting and looting. Did the IBJ commenters lie to me again like they did when they said covid would disappear after election day?

    1. We certainly dodged a bullet this time Wesley. I honestly don’t understand the triggers for peaceful protests vs looting and violence. Maybe someone could explain it to me. Is it because all involved were black this time? I’m not being sarcastic. I’d really like to understand the difference between this situation and the Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor incidents. In all three of those cases I didn’t see any wrong doing by police, but their were different reactions by the community.

    2. Well Jeff, I can’t tell you the trigger because I’ve never rioted and don’t know anyone who has. I think the difference is that this man had a weapon and was videotaping himself breaking the law. That’s only a guess though. I no longer live in Indianapolis, but my friends that did protest for George Floyd in Indy have never mentioned this case at all.

    3. By “protest” of course you mean riot, destroy storefronts, set fire to buildings, steal liquor and televisions, murder multiple people, and destroy the downtown, right? Because that’s what happened during the “George Floyd” “protests”

    4. Hi Nick, as I said, I’ve never known anyone who rioted. I had friends who were teargassed for no reason other than holding signs up on Alabama Street, but no one I know did any damage to anything. You’re trying to label an entire movement by less than 1% of idiots who destroyed things. Get a grip on reality.

    5. Follow up for Nick. Where in Indianapolis did they steal televisions? I wasn’t aware there was an electronic store Downtown…. If there is, that’s great for the area!