Discrepancies between the police's statements and what netizens watched on the live stream have drawn widespread criticism online and offline.
An Indianapolis man was fatally shot by a police officer following a high-speed chase Wednesday night while he streamed the encounter live on Facebook. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department claimed its chief and deputy chief noticed a man driving recklessly while they drove home from work at about 6 p.m. Although they reportedly tried to pull him over, the man— identified by the Marion County Coroner's Office as Dreasjon Reed—is said to have refused to stop. The officers pursued him for about 10 minutes before being called off by supervisors.
However, according to The New York Times, about five minutes later he was spotted by another police officer who saw him abandon the car and flee on foot. He chased after Reed and shot and killed him. Family members of the deceased man are now seeking answers, questioning whether the killing was necessary. Speaking to NBC affiliate WTHR, the victim's sister Jazmine Reed lamented, "Just to know it's my little brother... I shouldn't have to bury my little brother." According to her, Reed is a Lawrence North High School graduate who spent a year in the Air Force and was splitting his time between Texas and Indianapolis.
Justice for #SeanReed 💔 it’s sad that this keeps happening, and nothing is being done. Why shoot him 10+ times after tasing him? I bet you if he was white that wouldn’t have happened. We can’t even trust the people who are supposed to protect us. pic.twitter.com/DsTwv8WHLM— Skai (@skaijackson) May 7, 2020
Speaking to reporters at the scene of the incident, Chris Bailey, assistant chief of police, said that Reed had fired first at the officer. He stated that the police officer and Reed were the only ones at the scene during the incident and that they'd found a gun near the deceased man. However, discrepancies between the police's statements and what netizens watched on Facebook live has drawn severe criticism both online and offline. The police said in a statement that there had been an "exchange of gunfire" but did not comment on who fired first or whether a gun was recovered.
He can’t even get the damn story straight smh pic.twitter.com/J5enltUGha— 𝓒.♛ (@disbeatis) May 7, 2020
Moreover, the Facebook video did not show a gun in Reed's possession although most of the encounter happened off-camera. The footage, which was widely circulated on Wednesday evening, features a man recording himself as he drives away from a police cruiser while telling viewers about how he does not want to go to jail. He repeatedly asks someone to "Please come get me" after parking the car and attempting to flee on foot. The police claimed they had chased the driver after witnessing him nearly strike several cars while exiting the interstate, operating at speeds nearing 90 mph.
Exactly 24 hours after the 21 year old Dreasjon Reed was shot and killed police, residents of #Indianapolis have shut down the intersection of 62ND Street and Michigan Road...the exact spot of the shooting yesterday.— Cameron Ridle (@CameronRidle) May 7, 2020
Protests have all been peaceful. #SeanReed pic.twitter.com/8mmrgOVotH
The video then shows Reed running for about 25 seconds before someone shouts something at him. At this point, he shouts back and appears to fall down. 12 loud bangs are heard moments later, followed by two more after a brief pause. About 3,700 people watched the encounter live on Facebook, and heard a man saying "police-action shooting" after the sound of the shots. He is also heard repeatedly saying, "Oh my God" and using expletives. A morbid comment uttered off-camera at this point has drawn wide criticism online as the phone continued to stream live and captured someone saying, "Think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie."
Police officials are yet to respond to an inquiry about the shocking comment. Bailey stated that the department was aware of the video and sought to preserve it as evidence. Meanwhile, the police officer who shot and killed Reed will be placed on administrative leave as the department investigates.