Indianapolis police fire pepper balls amid shootings protest

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis police fired pepper balls Saturday to disperse a crowd as they arrested a man during a protest near the location where an officer fatally shot a 21-year-old black man days earlier.

About 50 people converged near the site where Dreasjon “Sean” Reed was fatally shot on Wednesday, The Indianapolis Star reported. Reed’s killing during a foot chase with an officer, and the fatal police shooting hours later of another black man, have strained relations between the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and black residents, spurring a series of demonstrations.

As police were arresting a man during Saturday’s protest, officers fired pepper balls “to deter a crowd as they closed in on officers creating an unsafe environment for officers and protesters,” police spokesman Michael Hewitt said in a statement.

Hewitt said officers arrested a 41-year-old man on suspicion of obstruction of traffic and disorderly conduct.

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“No officers or protesters were injured during this arrest. IMPD supports our citizens rights to peaceful and lawful protest,” Hewitt added.

Reed’s shooting death was followed by protests both Wednesday and Thursday. It came within hours of Indianapolis police fatally shooting 19-year-old McHale Rose, and an officer fatally striking a pregnant woman with his car. The woman was white.

It’s unclear what discipline, if any, that officer might face. Police said preliminary findings don’t indicate driver impairment was a factor in the incident.

Police have said both Reed and Rose exchanged gunfire with officers before they were fatally shot.

Local activist groups have demanded transparency and accountability as the shootings are investigated.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Friday that he asked the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI to “actively monitor” the investigations into the shootings. Also, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said he was asking a court to appoint an independent prosecutor to handle the investigation into Reed’s shooting because Indianapolis police Chief Randal Taylor is a witness in the case.

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