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Police-related deaths spark protests in Indianapolis

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 5/08/20, 12:02 pm

Protesters in face masks gathered outside the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis on Thursday chanting, “No justice, no peace.” Three adults and an unborn baby died in encounters with city police officers in the past two days. Two of the deaths appear to have involved armed suspects who exchanged gunfire with police officers.

What set off the unrest? On Wednesday, an African American man led police officers on a high-speed car chase that they eventually called off because of safety reasons. According to police, another officer later spotted the suspect’s car on a city street. The suspect fled on foot, shooting at the officer pursuing him. In the exchange of gunfire, the officer, who is also African American, shot and killed the 21-year-old suspect identified as Dreasjon “Sean” Reed. The suspect had livestreamed the incident on Facebook, and the video captured a detective as he approached the scene saying, “I think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie.” Later that night, a vehicle driven by longtime police officer Jonathan Henderson struck and killed a 23-year-old pregnant woman walking on an expressway ramp. Neither she nor her baby survived. Early on Thursday morning, police officers shot and killed 19-year-old McHale Rose after receiving a call for a burglary. Police said Rose shot at them once they arrived and called the incident a likely “ambush-style attack.”

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Janie B. Cheaney’s column on a way forward for race relations in the United States.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 05/08/2020 05:56 pm

    Do we have a racism problem in this country?  Yes, it seems there are always going to be bigoted people. Of any and all races. For certain, the media and the racial injustice activist industry want to make sure any incident of white-against-black racism gets a ton of tv time. But despite the news coverage and claims made by activists, I think there are far fewer actual racist incidents or racist people than there were in the 1960's and before. 

    What I see is primarily a behaviorism problem.  I definitely have a problem with people who do not behave as civilized humans--regardless of their race.

    There are some interesting complaints being made, among those people who see racism in everything.  For instance, they are upset because authorities seem to have responded much differently to the protestors at the Michigan Capitol, than, for instance, at the Ferguson, Missouri protests.   

    Hmmm...  I did not hear of one window being shattered, one business being looted, one building being burned, one car being vandalized, even one bottle being thrown at police, in the Michigan protests. Perhaps that's why authorities responded differently there than in Ferguson. 

    Just sayin'.

    Posted: Fri, 05/08/2020 08:02 pm

    The report on the first death is confusing as to the sequence of events and who was involved. Is this what happened?

    1. A black man led police on a high-speed car chase. Was this “The 21-year-old man, identified as Dreasjon ‘Sean’ Reed [who] livestreamed the incident on Facebook”? Was he live-streaming the chase?
    2. The police called off the chase for safety reasons.
    3. The car was spotted on a city street.
    4. The suspect (the black man) fled on foot. Was this “The 21-year-old man, identified as Dreasjon ‘Sean’ Reed [who] livestreamed the incident on Facebook”?
    5. While shooting at the officer pursuing him, the black man was fatally shot by an African American (black) police officer. Was the fleeing black man 21-year-old Sean? Was this the incident being live-streamed? How did he do it?
    6. A detective (skin color unspecified) came to the scene and made his remark about a closed casket. That was on video. If the dead black man was Sean, how was the video done?

    I suspect that part of the problem with this story is an article: “The 21-year-old man” seems to indicate that the black man and suspect and videographer were the same person. Perhaps that sentence should have begun with “A”: “A 21-year-old man …”

    That still doesn’t answer the question: What was the incident that was live-streamed? That a black officer, who was being shot at, killed a black suspect?

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Sat, 05/09/2020 03:59 pm

    We have edited the description of the first shooting and hope it helps to clarify it for you.