Family of Black man killed by officer gets autopsy reportAugust 6, 2020
By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An autopsy report on a Black man fatally shot in May by an Indianapolis police officer was released to the man's family Wednesday, three months after his death and following repeated requests from his relatives for the report's release.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office released the autopsy report to Dreasjon Reed’s family about the same time the family had scheduled a news conference outside the coroner’s office to again call for the report to be released to them.
Reed’s mother, Demetree Wynn, told reporters that she and her attorneys would not release the report on her 21-year-son son's death “until we read it and go over it thoroughly.” Events surrounding the shooting were livestreamed on Facebook by Reed, leading to protests.
“The things that you may have heard in the news coming from anyone, just know the fabrication is real. Everything that someone has told you ... is a complete lie,” she said outside the coroner’s office.
Attorney Fatima Johnson called the timing of the report's release a reaction to the family’s push to get more information on Reed's killing. She said that Wynn is a nurse who's trained in medical terminology and that she became “noticeably upset" when she glanced at the report's findings.
The special prosecutor who is investigating Reed's fatal shooting, Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury, said in a statement Wednesday that a Marion County court had authorized the coroner's office to release the autopsy report to Reed's family.
Khoury said “the investigation (into Reed’s death) is still ongoing” and her office expects the family to keep certain information in the report confidential.
“The State has petitioned the court to allow for the investigation to be completed before releasing the report so that a thorough and complete investigation could be conducted," she added.
Attorneys for Wynn filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit over Reed's death in June against the city of Indianapolis, its police department and four officers, including the one who fired the fatal shots.
The lawsuit alleges the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department failed to adequately train, screen and supervise officers to prevent them from engaging in excessive or deadly force, including Dejoure Mercer, the Black police officer who shot and killed Reed during a foot chase that followed a vehicle pursuit.
Indianapolis police have said they began pursuing Reed after officers, including Chief Randal Taylor, saw someone driving recklessly on Interstate 65. Supervisors ordered an end to that pursuit because the vehicle was going nearly 90 mph (145 kph), police said.
An officer later spotted the car on a city street and chased Reed on foot before police say Reed and the officer exchanged gunfire. Assistant Chief Chris Bailey has said a gun found near Reed appeared to have been fired at least twice.
Reed's mother, other relatives and the family's attorneys have insisted that the young man also did not exchange gunfire with the officer who shot him. They've said that they don’t trust the police department and believe it is trying to conceal information.
Days of protests followed Reed’s killing, which came hours before Indianapolis police officers fatally shot another Black man, McHale Rose, 19, and an officer fatally struck a pregnant white woman with his car.
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