Indianapolis Police Officer Suing NFL For Defamation Over Social Justice Campaign

The NFL has been pushing the “Inspire Change” campaign for some time now, which is supposed to highlight the stories of people who have been shot and killed by police across the country. That campaign includes Dreasjon Reed, who was shot by Indianapolis police officer De’Joure Mercer last year.

Now Mercer is hitting the NFL with a defamation lawsuit, saying the “Say Their Stories” video from the league has caused him to suffer “tortious injury” in the city of Indianapolis. Here is a snippet from that lawsuit:

The video gives rise to the inference, implication, and imputation that Mercer committed occupational misconduct and even criminal acts during the May 6 Encounter with Reed, similar to that which were inflicted upon George Floyd. This inference, implication, and imputation is false because Mercer committed no such acts. Similarly, the Video accuses Mercer of committing acts amounting to “social injustice,” which is unequivocally and demonstrably false.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s police investigation into the matter proved Mercer acted within IMPD’s use of force policies. Back in November of 2020, a grand jury ruled there wasn’t sufficient evidence to indict Mercer, and that he did not violate state law in his handling of the incident.

The NFL should have probably seen this sort of action coming after the series of online posts and videos — and who knows, maybe they did. But it shouldn’t be surprising to see the police officers involved with these shootings fighting back, especially if they feel their livelihoods are being affected after being cleared of wrongdoing.

Mercer’s lawyer is calling him a hero for taking action against the NFL.

“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,” Relford said in the statement, via Fox News. “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, defamatory and unacceptable. What happened here has nothing to do with racism.

“While we support NFL Enterprises’ efforts to address social justice issues, Officer Mercer is taking a stand for the many, many good cops on duty across America. He is standing up for his friends and colleagues and sending a message that before you accuse a decorated police officer of misconduct in a national campaign, you had better get your facts straight.”

Get your popcorn ready. This might just be the beginning.

Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and


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  1. This account needs at least a paragraph summarizing the events. Why the dead guy was being sought, the encounter with the officer, the circumstances of the lethal shooting or whatever. Seems odd that such info and detail have been excluded here.

    That said, I hope the officer’s lawsuit is successful. These idiot sports leagues sticking their noses for marketing purposes into things about which they’re ignorant (like police encounter stats and details of voting bills) need to get burned until they get back in their lanes.

  2. Actually, I’ll bet the NFL is already grateful for this. All the league cares about is money. It knows now that all the social justice stuff has been a huge mistake economically, and it’s looking for a way out. Going forward, the commissioner’s office will have the cover to claim it has to be careful about potential lawsuits, so the campaigning is going to have to stop. This suit is a gold plated excuse.

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