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‘We’re just trying to get answers’: Fatal IMPD shooting captured on Facebook Live

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There was a power vacuum on Michigan Road the night of May 6 as hundreds took to the streets to protest the police shooting that led to the death of Sean Reed.

One woman wanted everyone to form a single file line along the crime tape set up by police.

“If we don’t have order, they won’t respect us!” she said. “They won’t listen!”

Kwame Shakur, deputy chairman of the New African Black Panther Party, showed up with a megaphone and led the protesters in chants of “All power to the people” and “Fuck 12.”

Others came, grabbed the megaphone, stated their peace, belted out the rallying cries.

They were infuriated.

Approximately 15 minutes after unmarked police cars started to pursue Reed on I-65 because, according to police, he was driving recklessly, an officer shot Reed during a foot chase. Reed died at the scene.

IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said during a brief update at the scene that police believed “shots were fired by both the officer and the suspect.”

“There is a gun near the suspect that does not belong to the officer,” Bailey said.

Bailey said in a briefing May 7 an initial investigation indicated shots were fired from both Reed’s gun and the officer’s gun.

Police have not released Reed’s identity, but family identified him to media at the scene. 

Captured on Facebook Live

Many of the people who showed up to protest the shooting witnessed it in real time because Reed captured it on Facebook Live — everything from the chase to the shooting.

“Did I lose his ass?” Reed says while driving shirtless, apparently referring to the police chase. “Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah! You not finna catch me! Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I’m going to jail today, no sir!”

Shortly after, Reed says he’s parking on 62nd Street and Michigan Road.

“Somebody come get my stupid ass!” he says. “Please come get me!”

“I just parked this motherfucker, I’m gone,” he says as he gets out of the car.

The video then becomes less clear as he appears to start running.

Reed appears to answer someone who can’t be heard on the video.

“What’d you say?”

Shortly after, there appears to be a taser deployed, and Reed falls to the ground with his phone facing the sky. (Bailey said during a May 7 briefing the taser didn’t appear to be effective.)

That’s when about 15 shots ring out, with the last two coming a couple of seconds after the initial barrage.

You can hear an officer call in a police-action shooting. The audio cuts out for a few seconds.

“Oh my god,” a man repeats.

The sound of sirens starts building in the background.

Another recording of the aftermath of the shooting appears to capture a conversation between officers.

“I think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie,” a man says.

Chief Taylor said during the May 7 briefing the comment was made by a detective who wasn’t there at the time of the shooting. He called it “unacceptable” and said the department is looking at disciplinary actions.

Hours later, as the sun was setting, a woman who said Reed was her nephew spoke through tears on the megaphone.

“Just be peaceful,” she said. “We’re just trying to get answers.”

Ron Gee, from Indy Cease Fire, had the megaphone for a time.

“They trynna kill us,” he said, “and they don’t want us to do nothin’ about it.”

Toby Miller, director of the Race and Cultural Relations Leadership Network, was on the other side of the crime tape and told a group of protesters he was trying to get the police — which at the point included some in riot gear — to stand down in order to deescalate the situation.

Northwest District Commander Lorenzo Lewis was there in street clothes and told a woman he just didn’t want anyone to get hurt at the scene.

“It’s easy to say that when they’ve already hurt thousands of us,” she said.

The timeline

According to police, IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams was traveling northbound on I-65 in an unmarked car at 6 p.m. when he saw a vehicle driving recklessly on the interstate near 30th Street. Police said the vehicle was traveling close to 90 miles per hour and almost hit other vehicles when it exited.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor was driving in an unmarked car behind Adams. Both pursued until marked cars arrived.

At 6:10 p.m., supervisors from the Northwest District called off the pursuit near 56th Street and Lafayette Road because the driver was being too reckless to safely chase, police said.

According to police, the driver parked his car behind a business on Michigan Road. An officer saw the car at about 6:15 p.m. and got out of his vehicle, at which point the man took off on foot.

Bailey said police were aware of the Facebook Live video and preserved the evidence.

The officer who fired the shots is on administrative leave, Bailey said, which is standard for this situation.

The incident is under investigation.

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

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