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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Protesters take to the street after Dreasjon Reed grand jury decision

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A group of roughly 75 people marched through the rain Nov. 10 to express their anger at a grand jury decision to not indict an Indianapolis police officer for the shooting death of Dreasjon Reed.

Emotions were high, with some people praying and grieving and others shouting to release pent-up rage 188 days after Reed was killed following a police chase and foot pursuit.

It was a familiar sight after the racial justice protests of late May and June that encompassed not only Reed’s death, but also Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many downtown business owners boarded up their windows and doors in anticipation of unrest. Helicopters hovered over the city, and police cars stayed near protesters.

There was no property damage or violence, though. It was collective grief.

Earlier in the evening, special prosecutor Rosemary Khoury announced a grand jury did not have enough probable cause to indict Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer De Joure Mercer, who shot and killed Reed on May 6.

Indiana State Police representatives presented evidence they said shows Reed had a gun and shot at Mercer, though they couldn’t say for sure who shot first. IMPD said from the beginning that Mercer was returning fire when he shot Reed.

Before starting their march north on Meridian Street — and before the rain — Indy10 Black Lives Matter, which organized the gathering, opened the megaphone to any Black people who wanted to share their thoughts.

Marc Hardy was hesitant to talk but said he decided to do so after thinking about the nine African Americans who were shot to death at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina in 2015. He grew up in the AME church and said his grandmother used to attend Bible studies like the one the church-goers were at when they were killed.

Hardy told people they should use what they’re already doing — whether that’s education or health care or even law enforcement — to help the movement for racial justice.

“You don’t have to come on this bullhorn to make a difference,” he said.

Chris Dilworth talked about how systems of oppression that were built on “the logics of colonialism and genocide” are still active.

“What we need to keep on doing is pushing and pressing,” he said.

The pushing and pressing has led to some wins this year for groups like Indy10 that have been calling for police reforms and more accountability.

IMPD recently announced a Use of Force Review Board that will determine if an officer’s use of force was within department policy. The board will consist of five appointed civilians and four officers.

The City-County Council also created the General Orders Committee, which will have final say when it comes to department policy. The committee will have four civilians and three representatives from law enforcement.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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