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Officer Files Lawsuit Against NFL for Implying Shooting of Black Criminal Was Due to ‘Systemic Racism’

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The National Football League is being sued by Indianapolis police officer De’Joure Mercer over video and tweets the league published relating to an incident he was involved in. The NFL accused the officer of having shot and killed Dreasjon Reed, a Black man, due to “systemic racism.” However, the man killed was perceived to be “a very dangerous criminal wanted by the police.”

In the NFL’s “Say Their Stories” campaign, Reed was honored in a tweet in December, stating “Dreasjon is one of the many individuals being honored by players and coaches this season through the NFL’s helmet decal program.”

Mercer filed the lawsuit Monday in the federal Southern District of Indiana Court. Mercer’s lawyer, Guy A. Relford, wrote in the complaint that the materials the league published imply Mercer “committed occupational misconduct and even criminal acts during the May 6 encounter with Reed, similar to that which were inflicted upon George Floyd.”

In a statement, Relford said, “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, H 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.”

Fox News reports “the incident between police and Reed occurred in May 2020 – just a few weeks before Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. According to the paper, Mercer shot and killed Reed after a vehicle chase turned into a foot chase. An investigation into the shooting revealed that Reed fired shots at Mercer during the pursuit, which an attorney from Reed’s family denied. A grand jury decided not to bring a criminal indictment against Mercer.”

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