New York, NY – The National Football League (NFL) has chosen to honor a gunman who was killed while shooting at police by allowing players to wear his name on their helmets.
Protesters have demanded that Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Officer Dejoure Mercer be sent to prison for murder for returning fire after 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed shot at him on May 6, The Indianapolis Star reported at the time.
Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury announced in November that a grand jury determined the shooting was justified, according to The Indianapolis Star.
The Indiana State Police (ISP) said evidence in Reed’s phone indicated he was involved in two drive-by shootings prior to livestreaming the police chase and gun battle with Officer Mercer, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Cartridges collected by police in those cases matched the gun Reed fired at Officer Mercer, the ISP said.
According to ISP Lieutenant Jeffrey Hearon, Reed had stolen the firearm from a Texas pawn shop.
But despite Reed’s alleged history of carrying out drive-by shootings with a stolen gun and attempting to murder a police officer, the NFL has chosen to paint him as a victim by showcasing his name and photo as part of their helmet decal “Inspire Change” program.
Say His Name: Dreasjon Reed
Dreasjon is one of the many individuals being honored by players and coaches this season through the NFL’s helmet decal program.#SayTheirStories: https://t.co/vwi75WmNxr pic.twitter.com/wWaasw6LBp
— NFL (@NFL) December 16, 2020
“Say His Name: Dreasjon Reed,” the NFL proclaimed in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “Dreasjon is one of the many individuals being honored by players and coaches this season through the NFL’s helmet decal program.”
The NFL posted a photo of Reed, captioned with his date of birth and the date he died, as well as a quote from his mother, Demetree Wynn.
“He deserves justice!” Wynn declared. “He was a human being, a son, a brother, and a friend. He is my son and I love him.”
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Matthew Adams has committed to wearing Reed’s name on his helmet, according to the NFL.
But according to the Colts, no one on the team is currently planning to display Reed’s name on their helmets this season, WTHR reported.
Adams, 25, was ejected from a game against the Tennessee Titans last month for allegedly punching a Titans linebacker, The Indianapolis Star reported.
The encounter between Reed and Officer Mercer began shortly before 6 p.m. on May 6, when IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams spotted someone in a gray Toyota Corolla driving recklessly on Interstate 65, according to The Washington Post.
The suspect, later identified by his family as Reed, was traveling “at a high rate of speed and disobeying all traffic signals,” and nearly slammed into other vehicles as he exited the interstate, police said.
Deputy Chief Adams, who was in an unmarked vehicle, attempted to stop the reckless driver and radioed for additional assistance, The Indianapolis Star reported.
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, who happened to be traveling behind Deputy Chief Adams in a second unmarked vehicle, joined the pursuit as Reed sped away at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
When officers in marked patrol vehicles arrived in the area, Chief Taylor and Deputy Chief Adams turned the chase over to them – a move that is standard procedure for officers in unmarked vehicles, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Meanwhile, a shirtless Reed began streaming the chase on Facebook Live under the title, “High speed chase lol,” according to The Washington Post.
“You gotta look,” he told the thousands of viewers who tuned in as he pointed the camera at the patrol vehicle following behind him, according to The Indianapolis Star. “It’s just one right now.”
“Almost lost him, y’all!” he announced a moment later. “Almost got rid of his -ss!”
An IMPD sergeant terminated the chase just minutes later due to the suspect’s dangerous speeds and recklessness, The Indianapolis Star reported.
“I’m not going to jail today!” Reed yelled in the video.
A short while later, an IMPD officer spotted Reed driving eastbound on 62nd Street, The Indianapolis Star reported.
“I’m gonna park this motherf–ker!” Reed squealed in the video. “Somebody come get my stupid -ss! I’m on 62nd and Michigan, I just parked this mother–ker imma go! Please come get me!”
Reed then jumped out of the vehicle and took off running.
The officer chased the suspect on foot for a moment before he and Reed got into a confrontation, IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said, according to The Indianapolis Star.
The officer also deployed his Taser at some point during the encounter, according to The Washington Post.
“Stop! Stop!” the officer ordered in the video.
“F–k you!” Reed yelled back.
The suspect then shot at the officer, who returned fire, WTHR reported.
Reed yelled out and appeared to collapse to the ground with his cell phone pointed up at the sky as the livestream continued.
More than 16,000 people had tuned in to watch the video by that time, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Officers removed the gun from Reed’s hand after the gunfight so emergency medical technicians could assist him, Lt. Hearon said, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Reed was pronounced dead at the scene, The Washington Post reported.
Lt. Hearon said Reed fired two shots during the encounter, but said it was unclear who fired first, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Despite the evidence evidence, Reed’s family and their attorneys have denied allegations that Reed fired the gun at all.
The family has also filed a lawsuit against four members of the IMPD, alleging the department failed to properly discipline, supervise, and train several officers who were involved in the series of events that preceded the fatal shooting, The Indianapolis Star reported.