INDIANAPOLIS — The police officer who shot and killed Dreasjon Reed in May of last year has dropped his lawsuit against the NFL, but it’s not the end of the case altogether.
On Thursday Officer De’Joure Mercer and his lawyers withdrew their lawsuit accusing the NFL of defamation in a way that would allow them to refile it, in either state or federal court.
Attorneys Todd V. McMurtry and Guy A. Relford filed the lawsuit on Mercer’s behalf.
“Guy Relford and I are counsel for De’Joure Mercer. After filing the case, we learned that due to National Football League Enterprises’ business structure, our case lacked diversity of citizenship among the parties. This made the Indiana federal court the incorrect jurisdiction,” McMurtry said in a statement. “So, we properly dismissed the case without prejudice. We are considering our options at this time. This is a common problem with LLCs and is a fairly complex issue to explain, so I won’t. Needless to say, this happens from time to time.”
The lawsuit said the NFL was wrong to use Dreasjon Reed in its “Say Their Stories” campaign, which shined light on who the NFL said were victims of racial and social injustice, particularly as it related to shootings involving police officers in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
“Despite a highly-publicized investigation and other information that clearly exculpated Mercer of all wrongdoing, all of which was publicly available and was in fact possessed by and known to one of the National Football League’s teams, the Indianapolis Colts, the NFLE (NFL Enterprises) published several online statements accusing Mercer of police misconduct,” said the lawsuit.
Mercer was cleared of any misconduct accusations by prosecutors and the Indianapolis Metro Police Department. His lawyers say the NFLE either “knew it’s statements about Mercer were false or acted with reckless disregard of the statement’s truth or falsity”.
Reed, 21, was shot and killed after a chase on May 6, 2020. Indianapolis Metro Police say Reed fired shots at an officer in an exchange of gunfire. The incident also involved a chase with speeds that topped out around 90 mph, police said. Reed streamed the chase on Facebook Live.