An Indianapolis detective caught on video joking about the death of a 21-year-old fatally shot by police after a high-speed chase has been suspended by the department, a police spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast.
The detective, whose name has not been released, arrived at the scene of the May 6 shooting of Dreasjon “Sean” Reed—which was apparently broadcast on Facebook Live—and can be heard saying on video: “Looks like it’s going to be a closed casket, homie.”
“We are aware of inappropriate comments made by an IMPD detective” on the livestream, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Randal Taylor said at a May 7 press conference. “Let me be clear: These comments are unacceptable and unbecoming of our police department.”
An IMPD spokesperson confirmed that disciplinary action was taken against the detective on Thursday, stating that he was suspended for “numerous days and has been reassigned to another unit.” The spokesperson declined to provide further details due to the “ongoing investigation and for safety purposes.”
The department said the incident began around 6 p.m. when two officers began pursuing a man whom they observed to be driving recklessly. After the driver exited the car, an officer chased him on foot before gunfire was “exchanged” at around 6:14 p.m., police said in a press release, without revealing who fired first. In an unconfirmed Facebook video of the incident, at least 13 or 14 gunshots can be heard.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. Police have not identified the officer, but said he and the driver are black men.
“It’s not right. We’re going to fight for him. I swear to god it is just not right,” Jamie Reed, the driver’s father, said at a Wednesday press conference. “We need to fight for this. We don’t need to let this fade. We need to all fight.”
In the Facebook video, Reed is filming himself in the middle of a high-speech chase with police when he appears to pull over and stop his car. Authorities say the driver disregarded “the officers’ verbal commands to stop” and ran out of the car, prompting an officer to chase him on foot.
“I’m on 62nd and Michigan,” Reed says in the video, just before exiting the car. “I just parked... I’m gone.”
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said during a news conference that the officer first used his taser, but it’s unclear if it worked. The taser cannot be seen on the purported video from the scene.
“It is believed at this time that shots were fired by both the officer and the suspect,” Bailey said.
In the video, Reed appears to start screaming before collapsing on the ground. About eight seconds later, 11 or 12 gunshots can be heard in rapid succession. The livestream does not show Reed talking about a gun or firing a weapon.
By the end of the gunfire, more than 4,000 people had tuned in to watch the livestream. Bailey said Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services arrived shortly after and pronounced the driver dead at the scene. The officer was uninjured.
Taylor stated that a “loaded gun” was recovered at the scene that appeared to have been fired twice. He said it belonged to the driver. An attorney for Reed’s family, Fatima Johnson, acknowledged Wednesday that while the 21-year-old may have had a firearm, it was obtained legally.
“You have a right to ask questions about what happened last week. You have a right to demand answers for what happened last week. The way we do that is in the courtroom,” Johnson said Wednesday.
More than 100 people from the community gathered at the scene of the shooting to express their outrage earlier this month. Protesters continued demonstrating the following day, with dozens marching through the streets of Indianapolis before congregating outside of police headquarters.