Indiana police are investigating the fatal police-involved shooting of a driver shortly after a high-speed chase, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said in a news release.
After the shooting, more than 100 people gathered to protest, chanting, 'No justice, no peace,' according to the Indianapolis Star.
Both the officer and the driver involved in the incident were black men, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said in a news conference Wednesday.
'Based on evidence, we have no reason to believe the officer acted out of turn,' Chief Randal Taylor said.
Bailey acknowledged police have been made aware of a video that is also circulating on social media and are investigating.
'We are also aware of inappropriate comments made by an IMPD detective that was broadcast live on social media,' Taylor said, adding that the comments came from a responding detective not involved in chase.
'Let me be clear: These comments are unacceptable. We will be pursuing immediate disciplinary action against that officer,' the chief said.
A Toyota Corolla being driven recklessly caught an officer's attention on Interstate 65 around 6 p.m. Wednesday, and Deputy Chief Kendale Adams and Taylor followed it in their unmarked cars, Bailey said. The driver was speeding and also almost hit other vehicles as it exited the interstate, Bailey said.
Adams asked for assistance as the 'vehicle continued driving at a high rate of speed and disobeying all traffic signals,' according to the news release.
Once marked cars joined the pursuit, Adams and Taylor peeled off, per protocol, Bailey said.
Police ended the chase about 10 minutes later, turned off their emergency lights and began driving at normal speed, Bailey said.
Minutes later, a different officer saw the car pull behind a business and the driver jumped out, Bailey said. Once the officer got out of his car, the suspect ran and the officer gave chase, Bailey said.
The officer tried to use his Taser, but Bailey said it doesn't appear the Taser was effective.
Gunfire was exchanged between the driver and the officer, Bailey said, adding that the driver was shot and pronounced dead shortly after. Officers found a gun near the suspect and 15 shell casings at the scene, police said.
'I believe it is reasonable to believe that this gun is the individual's,' Taylor said. 'It is a distinct-looking gun with an orange slide and an elongated grip. We are aware of photos showing the driver holding a similar distinctive weapon on social media sites.'
Officer on leave
The officer was not injured, Bailey said. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, the news release said.
'IMPD closely scrutinizes all uses of force, as we hold every officer to our high standards,' the release said. 'The shooting is being investigated by IMPD's Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). A separate and independent internal investigation will be conducted by IMPD's Internal Affairs Unit to ensure compliance with departmental policy, as is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting.'
Taylor understands the concerns of protesters gathered outside the police station, he told reporters, 'but hope you will allow us to run the investigations and not believe everything you see on social media.'
The local NAACP chapter asked people in the community to limit their protesting to small groups or social media
'We urge the community to stay calm,' it said in a statement. 'We urge people not to gather in large groups to protest. With COVID-19 rampant in our community and the lack of sufficient testing and testing sites, we know that large gatherings will lead to more deaths.'
Early Thursday, hours after the shooting, officers were called to burglary in progress at an apartment complex, where a man ambushed them, opening fire with a rifle, police said. Four officers returned fire, killing him, according to police.
Asked if the two events were connected, the chief said, 'That's a possibility, obviously, but I have no way to confirm that at this point.'