Officer Sues NFL for Implying He Killed Man without Justification

An Indianapolis police officer who shot and killed a suspect last year is suing the National Football League over material published online that implies he killed Dreasjon Reed without justification.

IMPD officer De'Joure Mercer filed the complaint Monday in federal Southern District of Indiana court. It targets website posts and video produced by the NFL that highlight Reed and other figures in a campaign intended to "honor victims of systemic racism, victims of police misconduct, and social justice heroes," the IndyStar reports.

That language is problematic, according to Mercer's lawyers.

"The (v)ideo gives rise to the inference, implication, and imputation that Mercer committed occupational misconduct and even criminal acts during the May 6 (e)ncounter with Reed, similar to that which were inflicted upon George Floyd," Mercer's lawyers write in the complaint. "This inference, implication, and imputation is false because Mercer committed no such acts."

Mercer shot and killed Reed following a vehicle chase that turned into a foot pursuit on May 6, 2020. In November, a grand jury announced it would not bring a criminal indictment against Mercer.

State investigators argued that Reed fired two shots at Mercer during the final moments of the pursuit — an allegation that attorneys representing Reed's family denied.

Mercer’s attorney, Guy A. Relford, released the following statement:

De’Joure Mercer is a hero. He tracked down a very dangerous criminal wanted by the police, who was a threat to the citizens of Indianapolis. He put his life on the line and was nearly killed in that effort. He was completely exonerated after an exhaustive investigation into the death of Mr. Reed. For NFL Enterprises then to suggest he was involved in police or racist misconduct is totally false, defamatory and unacceptable. What happened here has nothing to do with racism.  

While we support NFL Enterprises’ efforts to address social justice issues, Officer Mercer is taking a stand for the many, many good cops on duty across America. He is standing up for his friends and colleagues and sending a message that before you accuse a decorated police officer of misconduct in a national campaign, you had better get your facts straight.

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