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Dreasjon Reed: Local leaders react to grand jury decision

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The following includes statements from local leaders and organizations following a grand jury decision to not indict an Indianapolis police officer for the shooting death of Dreasjon Reed.

“The African American Coalition of Indianapolis joins our entire community in a collective sadness of the potential lost in the death of Dreasjon Reed. We recognize that not only his family but the Black community, including the officer involved have been significantly impacted by this tragic event.

We like to believe that justice is clear, recognizable and a product of a collective consensus. Justice should be obvious. However, too often when it has come to the death of Black males in police action shootings there has not been a clear, recognizable, and collective community consensus on whether justice has been achieved.

Distrust, apprehension and even anger are the product of the Black community experiencing one justice system while everyone else has the protection of another.

Peaceful protest is the language of the unheard and a constitutional right that should be protected. But beyond protesting, the AACI commits to its ongoing work of creating a relationship between the police and the community built on trust, shared accountability and mutual respect. We hope that things for which we have advocated for and are being implemented including implicit bias training, body cameras, de-escalation training, citizens on both the use of force and general orders boards are steps to prevent future police action shootings and promote existence of real accountability.”

 — African American Coalition of Indianapolis

“Today my thoughts are with the family of Dreasjon Reed, who continue to grieve the loss of a son, a brother, and a friend. The events that led to the death of Mr. Reed have forced our community to confront the loss of this young life and have raised understandable questions produced by centuries of racism and mistrust.

From the beginning, I advocated for a transparent review of the incident – requesting monitoring from federal authorities and supporting the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Indiana State Police investigation. Today’s announcement by Special Prosecutor Khoury draws this process to a close, with the empaneled grand jury declining to issue an indictment.

This decision ends the criminal review of the interaction but it doesn’t heal the divides in our community caused by a heartbreaking incident such as this. I offer my sincere thanks to the many faith and community leaders who have advocated for law enforcement reforms, including the creation of a Use of Force Review Board, changes to our Use of Force Policy, the implementation of body cameras, and a citizen-majority General Orders Board. These reforms are meaningful steps forward as we continue to build new trust between Indianapolis neighborhoods and our police department.”

 — Mayor Joe Hogsett

“We are grateful to Prosecutor Khoury, Indiana State Police Superintendent Carter and all the troopers who participated in this investigation, as well as the citizens who served on the grand jury for ensuring a fair and just investigative process and a transparent outcome.

We also extend our thanks to Indianapolis residents for awaiting the conclusion of this lengthy and intensive process alongside us. We understand that this result may be frustrating for some of our residents, but it is our hope that the full transparency offered by Prosecutor Khoury and Superintendent Carter will help to move our city forward, improve the relationship between our officers and neighborhoods, and bring us closer to healing the division in our community. We look forward to continuing a productive dialogue with our residents and building the types of partnerships with our neighborhoods that prevent violence.”

— Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

“Today’s announcement of the grand jury findings in the death of Dreasjon Reed recalls the long and complicated relationship between local law enforcement and many in our community.  

Moving forward, we cannot ignore the fact that Black residents of Indianapolis have long experienced justice—and the justice system—very differently from our white neighbors. That history has very naturally resulted in mistrust, anger, and anguish on all sides. The challenge that lays before us now is to redress that painful past without allowing it to define our future.  

This Council continues to be committed to the work of building that trust between law enforcement and all members of the city they serve, but we recognize we cannot do it alone. We welcome the participation of our faith community, our activist community, our business community, and our law enforcement community as we look toward a future that is built on trust, transparency, mutual respect, and understanding.

In our democracy, activism and peaceful protest are fundamental. The Council urges those exercising their first amendment rights to do so peacefully.”

— City-County Council President Vop Osili

“The Greater Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP asks for peace in the community as Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury and the grand jury concludes the Reed investigation by issuing no charges.  We, like Prosecutor Khoury, believe there are no winners in this tragic circumstance.   The Branch appreciates the transparency of the investigation and giving the community as close to a full disclosure as permitted by the law.   

The NAACP has long-standing experience with issues involving police use of force. We need an ongoing dialogue that continues to reimagine policing within the greater Indianapolis community. The task may seem daunting, but we feel Indianapolis will rise to meet the challenge. 

We appeal to community members who wish to express themselves to do so in a peaceful manner and not engage in detrimental conduct which undermines our cause. By remaining peaceful, the overall message of respect and transparency in policing will not get lost. 

Again, our hearts are with Dreasjon Reed’s family, the IMPD family and the Indianapolis community as we begin to move forward in the healing process.”

— Greater Indianapolis NAACP President Chrystal Ratcliffe

“The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus has a mission to advocate for those in need and ensure that we do our best to protect our constituents. As you are aware, threats of violence and fear are among us. Today, the decision of the grand jury in the Dreasjon Reed case was announced. It is our sincerest intention to extend to the family of Mr. Reed our deepest condolences.

While we respect engagement and demonstrations, we want to encourage everyone to be cautious. 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.”

— Indiana Black Legislative Caucus

“Today’s lack of accountability is disappointing. My heart remains with the family of Dreasjon Reed during this painful time. Today’s decision underscores the need for changes like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

It also illustrates why we need vigilance to bring about systematic change. Thanks to all who have remained steadfast in the fight for justice. Keep up the important work, and I’ll remain by your side.”

— U.S. Rep. André Carson (in a tweet)

Today, the Indianapolis Urban League is saddened and frustrated with the Grand Jury’s decision not to file criminal charges against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer who shot and killed 21- year-old Dreasjon Reed on May 6th of this year; citing insufficient evidence. The Reed family remains in the thoughts and prayers of the Urban League and so many in this community. 
“The Indianapolis Urban League is vigorously advocating for accountability measures within the ranks of our law enforcement agencies by closely monitoring the rollout of police officer body cameras and the implementation of a majority civilian representation on the Use of Force Review Board.  We also stand in unity with the African American Coalition of Indianapolis, other community partners and civic and corporate allies who are also advocating for improved transparency and accountability for police actions in our city,” said Tony Mason, Indianapolis Urban League.
“As we continue to lift our voices for social justice, we must not allow our actions to overshadow our message for accountability and affirm our commitment to non-violent protests,” said Mason.

— Indianapolis Urban League

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