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Indianapolis, Defend Black Lives

Problem

On May 6, 2020, a 21-year-old named Dreasjon Reed was shot and killed by an unidentified Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer. Part of the pursuit was captured on video by Dreasjon, who was recording himself on Facebook live. Eyewitnesses came forward with a video describing what they saw—police tasing Dreasjon and then shooting him in the back after he had fallen to the ground. The women who witnessed the shooting were hesitant to speak out because of fears for their safety, but ultimately came forward after the killing of George Floyd and protests around the country. After the shooting, an officer is heard on video saying, “It’s going to be a closed casket, homie.” 

Almost a month after the shooting, IMPD has still not released the identity of the officer who shot Dreasjon, even though he has been suspended. The coroner’s office has not released the autopsy report, and the IMPD and city officials have not shared information about the FBI and Department of Justice monitoring the investigation into Dreasjon’s death. On June 4, a day after a press conference held by Dreasjon’s family where they demanded an independent investigation into his death, the Marion Superior Court appointed Rosemary Khoury as special prosecutor in this case. 

In May, three people were killed by IMPD. In addition to Dreasjon Reed, 19-year-old Mchale Rose was killed by police less than 8 hours after Dreasjon was shot, and a pregnant pedestrian was struck and killed by a police officer. Demands for reform of the IMPD have been made by organizers for years, who note that no officer has been fired or brought up on charges after killing a civilian. In 2017, after the murder of Aaron Bailey by police, a federal civil rights investigation did not lead to charges being brought. 

People in Indianapolis took to the streets following Dreasjon’s fatal shooting and have continued as protests have erupted across the country—thanks to vigilance from organizers on the ground, the county prosecutor is not filing charges against non-violent protestors arrested over the weekend. 

Solution / Demands

In response to organizers’ demands, the Mayor has said the IMPD will create a new use-of-force policy and use-of-force review board with civilian participation on an advisory basis. The draft policy will increase the number of civilians on the review board from three to four, but community leaders say this level of civilian representation is not sufficient.

More community demands have yet to be met:

  • Both officers involved in Dreasjon’s killing are fired with no pension. 
  • The officer who killed Dreasjon Reed be named and held accountable for his murder.
  • IMPD should release Dreasjon Reed’s autopsy report to the family.
  • Demilitarization of the police. 
  • In recognition of how housing injustice is linked to racism and police violence, organizers are calling for the cancellation of rent, mortgages and all debts to landlords during the pandemic.

Major Actions

  • Call and email action! Asking everyone to call the mayor, the prosecutor, the coroner’s office, the chief of police, and the city council to demand justice for Dreasjon Reed. Scripts and phone numbers provided. Hosted by: Indy10 Black Lives Matter, IMPD Transparency, Answer Indiana, Party for Socialism and Liberation—Indianapolis, and Queering Indy