Following an investigation sparked by the 2020 death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department had determined there is “reasonable cause to believe” the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Kentucky city government engaged in a pattern of behavior that violated citizens’ constitutional and civil rights.
In theory, the Justice Department, the city of Louisville, and the LMPD have agreed on a consent decree. According to Garland, the LMPD has since improved its procedures.
A Black lady named Taylor was tragically shot in her Louisville residence in March 2020 after police forced their way inside during a botched raid. The Justice Department has charged several LMPD officers for her death.
Breonna Taylor “was a symptom of problems we have had for years,” an LMPD leader told the department shortly after we began the inquiry. The Justice Department’s findings and the report we publish today bore that up,” Garland said at a press conference in Louisville.
According to Garland, the Justice Department report revealed that the LMPD “discriminates” against Black people and those with behavioral health issues, “uses excessive force,” including neck restraints, conducts searches based on “invalid warrants,” and “illegally executes warrants” without knocking and making an announcement.
Garland said that the DOJ investigation also pointed out issues with how the police department handled complaints about sexual assault and domestic abuse.
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According to Garland, the DOJ also discovered that the LMPD frequently stopped motorists in Black communities under the pretext of minor traffic violations to look into other possible crimes.
“This conduct is unacceptable,” Garland said. “It is heartbreaking. It erodes the community trust necessary for effective policing.”
According to Garland, these actions also insult the Louisville community and the “great majority” of law enforcement personnel who risk their lives to serve the community honorably.
In a thorough statement, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg and the city’s new police chief promised to “do everything possible and necessary to remedy the mistakes of the past and heal the scars they’ve left in our community.” Greenberg took office earlier this year.
You merited superior treatment, Greenberg wrote. “We shall strive to improve. We are dedicated to implementing changes to elevate departmental standards and guarantee legal and efficient policing that lowers crime and enhances public safety.
The past of LMPD is painfully depicted in this report. Nonetheless, it aids in guiding us toward a better future and the subsequent stage of Louisville’s police reform. That stage has just begun.”
The Justice Department report has been received, according to the Louisville Metro Police Department, and will be carefully examined by command personnel.
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