An officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is suing the National Football League for libel while the league pushed its social justice agenda. At the same time, the NFL highlighted an Indy man who ran from police after a high speed traffic stop, then pulled a gun on officers and fired. Police fired back, killing the suspect.
The NFL, in pushing social justice memes in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, used Dreasjon Reed’s case as an example of police brutality. They even shared a photo and video of Reed, using the hashtag #SayHisName. However, it was clear the NFL never investigated the case themselves. An Indiana State Police investigation concluded that Reed had a gun, and fired two shots at the officers after being tased.
The special prosecutor on the case, Rosemary Khoury, gave a tearful explanation earlier this year of why no charges will be filed against the officer in question, Officer De’Joure Mercer.
“This has not been an easy task and it’s been a very heavy burden,”
“I am also very empathetic toward Officer Mercer. I know that had to be a difficult position to be in,” she said. “No one wins.”
Now, Officer Mercer is suing the NFL. According to the complaint:
The truth of the matter is that Mercer committed no misconduct during the May 6 Encounter and was publicly cleared of all alleged wrongdoing. 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 (National Football League Enterprises) published several online statements accusing Mercer of police misconduct.
As detailed below, the NFLE published its false statements of fact negligently and with a reckless disregard of the truth; the NFLE’s statements are defamatory per se and have caused Mercer to suffer severe emotional and reputational injury in his personal and professional capacities.
From the complaint against the NFLE by Officer De’Joure Mercer
Guy Relford, one of the lawyers for Officer Mercer, told Redstate:
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 and unacceptable. What happened here has nothing to do with racism or systemic racism.
While we support NFL Enterprises’ efforts to address social justice issues, it has just as strong a duty to get their facts straight. NFL Enterprises should have known Mr. Reed was involved in criminal conduct at the time of his death. NFL Enterprises is like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Raising the alarm where there is no threat by accusing De’Joure Mercer of misconduct delegitimizes the NFL’s entire social justice message.
Relford concluded by saying that, “...before you accuse of police officer of misconduct, you had better get your facts straight.”
Officer Mercer is requesting a jury trial. The defendant is listed as NFL Enterprises, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.