A01 A01
'They couldn't fix his face': Dreasjon Reed's mother, attorneys give update
Demetree Wynn, the mother of Dreasjon Reed, and the family's attorneys spoke June 3 near the intersection of 62nd Street and Michigan Road to give an update on what they've been doing in the weeks following the fatal police shooting of 21-year-old Reed.

Wynn said Reed's body was released by the coroner's office, but when she looked, she couldn't get past his face.

"If you've ever seen my son's eyes, just know they shot his eyes out," she said through tears.

According to Wynn, Reed's left eye was sewn shut, and they "pushed some stuff in" the right eye so she couldn't see the holes. "They couldn't fix his face," she said.

"They tried. He had one eyebrow that was almost at his nose and the other was on his forehead. That's how much damage was done to his face alone."

It's been nearly a month since Reed was shot by police following a chase that ended on foot near where the family held the press conference.

Police said Reed had a gun and fired at police first, but the attorneys said they have evidence to show that isn't true.

Swaray Conteh, the lead attorney, said he won't share what that evidence is right now.

"We can only say we have evidence that is contrary to the claim that IMPD is making," he said.

Attorneys recently released video

of women in a car who can be heard describing Reed's death. The video does not show what happened.

"They killed this man for no reason," one woman says. "... Dude was running."

She continues: "He was on the ground shaking. They still shot this man. They tased him. He was on the ground defenseless."

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has asked witnesses to come forward but said no one has yet.

Meanwhile, the family's attorneys are waiting for a special prosecutor to be named because city officials — including the mayor — have told them that's where they'll get answers to their questions.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor released a statement June 3 saying the community is right to ask for information but it "simply cannot occur" without the direction of an independent prosecutor.

"This is unacceptable," Taylor said of the delay in the Marion County Superior Court appointing a special prosecutor. "Our community and this police department deserve better from the criminal justice system."

Conteh said he has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation.

He said he has also filed a motion to compel IMPD to release the names of the officer who shot Reed and the officer who made a comment about a "closed casket" funeral.

"We've been having trouble getting the cooperation of IMPD, and we know the reason for that," Conteh said. "They are trying to conceal relevant information."

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

2020 CENSUS Q&A with Tony Mason

The 2020 census is underway, but some things have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That doesn't do anything to change how important it is for communities like Indianapolis — with a sizeable Black population — to get a complete response. The census helps determine how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated over the next 10 years.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 60% of Marion County residents have completed the census, which is about 5 percentage points behind the state as a whole but in line with the rest of the country.

Complete the census online at 2020census.gov. You can also respond to the paper questionnaire sent to your home or call 844-330-2020.

To answer more questions about the census and why completing

it is important, the Recorder sent questions to Tony Mason, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Urban League and co-chair of Count Me INdy's Complete Count Committee.

Why is it important to complete the 2020 census?

Mason: Filling out the 2020 census is one of the most important things you can do right now — it's right up there with voting! The 2020 census will determine congressional representation, help determine the allocation of hundreds of billions in federal funding every year and provide data that will help support communities for the next decade. The results of the count determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. They are also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners and others will use 2020 census data to make critical decisions such as determining where communities need new schools, health clinics, roads and services for families, older adults and children. The results also will inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. And it's easy! You can complete the census quickly and securely at 2020Census.gov, or by calling 844-330-2020 or 844-4682020 (for Spanish).

I called to fill out my census and still got a mailing saying I haven't responded yet. Why is that?

Mason: It may just be a matter of timing! If you already responded, the reminder may have been sent before your response was received. Don't worry — you can just disregard reminder mailings if you've already responded. However, the U.S. Census Bureau does conduct other annual household surveys that you may also receive mail for in the future.

I applied for a job as a 2020 census enumerator and haven't heard back. Do I need to do anything?

Mason: The timeline for hiring these census workers was set back due to coronavirus restrictions, but many cities, including Indianapolis, are resuming the hiring process for staff going out into the field. If you have applied and still haven't heard anything, you can check the status of your application by logging in to the account created when you applied. You will receive an email notification when the status of your application changes. Status updates also will be available through the online system.

How did COVID-19 affect the 2020 census?

Mason: The pandemic has changed some timelines, but it is essential that we keep moving forward to count everyone in this moment in time. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Census Bureau did adjust operations to protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees. But good news — we have been given more time to ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities. The deadline for responding to the Census online, by phone or by mail has been extended from July 31 to Oct. 31. Census takers were originally scheduled to start in May and finish by July 31 in-person interviews at households that had not responded to the 2020 census. The new dates for this operation are Aug. 11 to Oct. 31.

How do I know my information is safe?

Mason: This is a very common question that we get, but I can assure you, your information is completely confidential and protected by law and cannot be shared with any other government agencies, including law enforcement or immigration officials. Federal law (U.S. Code Title 13, Section 9) protects your privacy and keeps your answers safe and secure. By law, the U.S. Census Bureau can use your responses only to produce statistics. In fact, your information is kept confidential for 72 years, or what is considered a lifetime. Even the president of the United States can't get access to it under law.

How are people in group housing (hotels, prisons, homeless shelters) counted to make sure we get an accurate count of everyone?

Mason: The goal of the 2020 census is to count every single person living in the United States once – and only once – and in the right place. This includes many people who may be living in non-traditional or transitional housing. The Census Bureau works closely with administrators of nursing homes, universities, correctional facilities and other locations where people live in group settings to ensure a complete and accurate count. The Census Bureau also has special processes in place for counting people who may be experiencing homelessness and who are staying or receiving assistance at emergency and transitional shelters, soup kitchens and non-sheltered outdoor locations. Everyone counts in the 2020 census, and it's important that each person is represented in this critical reporting that happens just once every 10 years.

Standoff ends, protest continues

A nearly hour-long standoff between demonstrators and Indiana State Police (ISP) June 1 ended after ISP officers momentarily removed their riot gear.

Late in the afternoon June 1, protesters began a march they hoped would take them to the governor's mansion. A group of roughly 50 people on foot marched, carrying signs reading messages such as "Black lives matter" and "Blue lives murder" and were trailed by a procession of roughly 80 cars as the protest made its way through downtown.

With car horns blaring and chants of "Hands up, don't shoot" echoing through the crowd, police were on high alert. While members of the Indiana National Guard Reactionary Force stood guard near Monument Circle, officers from ISP and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) were attempting to follow the crowd. Protest organizers were streaming much of the procession on Facebook Live, but never revealed their exact location.

As they walked toward the governor's mansion, protesters noticed a line of over a dozen ISP patrol cars blocking off 46th Street. One protester draped in a flag reading "Don't tread on me" stopped the group and informed them, "They don't want us to reach the governor's mansion!" and encour-

aged the group to continue to move forward and confront the police.

As the crowd advanced toward the group of well over 40 officers, all in riot gear, it was roughly 15 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Joe Hogsett. As they reached the line of officers, many demonstrators took a knee, raising their hands in the air screaming "Hands up, don't shoot!"

After that, amid the chanting of the crowd, conversations took place: Protesters speaking to fellow protesters, and protesters speaking with officers. At several points, tension arose as words were exchanged. Organizers of the demonstration, however, worked to deescalate the situation, telling members of the crowd to step back. About 30 minutes into the standoff, officers deployed a low-dose pepper ball into the crowd after they said a few demonstrators crossed a threshold that was established by officers earlier in the demonstration.

At one point, protester Anthony Brown stood between police and members of the demonstration, trying to bridge understanding between both groups.

"I was saying, you guys swore you were going to protect and serve," Brown said. "And, a bunch of people were asking them to serve with us, hand in hand. They did that. I would love to see more cops come out and do that."

Brown said he hopes this protest will create "listening ears and change," and said protesters were giving officers examples of what laws they think should be changed and how to move forward.

Nearly an hour after the standoff began, ISP officers briefly removed their riot gear and lowered their batons and weapons, seemingly signaling to protesters they heard what they were saying. Loud cheers and applause erupted from the crowd, and several members of the demonstration approached police to shake hands and exchange hugs. Others in the crowd, however, viewed the removal of riot gear as an empty gesture and were upset with protesters for engaging with police.

Mat Davis, an organizer who read a list of demands to police and led chants, told demonstrators to not shake hands and hug police.

He led chants of "Stop hugging the police!" as people made their way back toward downtown on Meridian.

Police followed behind in squad cars most of the way, and they were posted at many intersections.

The original plan was to walk to 16th Street in order to avoid downtown, but many people were parked downtown.

They continued to Vermont Street, where Davis, who talked with police earlier, told the group that officers said people would be able to walk to their cars and go home.

"They've definitely given us the green light to be able to do that," Davis said, stopping the group. "We don't have anything else. I gotta make sure that none of y'all get maced, billy-clubbed, beat up, arrested or none of that. Once we've splitten up, we've been given the word that they won't do anything."

Then he harkened back to one of the most common chants of the night: "Can I ask you a question?" he repeated. "Have the police ever deescalated a m**********n' thing!"

Everyone shouted no.

Shortly after, people split into smaller groups in order to stay together as they left, with most clearing the area by about 11 p.m.

Contact staff writers Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper. Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317762-78523. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.