After Breonna Taylor shooting, DOJ report dings Louisville police – Finds Louisville police have engaged in a ‘pattern of violating constitutional rights of Black people’
After Post Breonna Taylor shooting, Justice Department’s probe of Louisville police practices finds LMPD established a pattern of violating constitutional rights
Report states that Louisville Metro Police “discriminates against Black people in its enforcement activities,” uses excessive force and conducts searches based on invalid warrant
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was roused from her bed by police who came through the door using a battering ram after midnight on March 13, 2020
Three officers fired shots after Taylor’s boyfriend, fearing an intruder, shot an officer in the leg
Taylor was struck several times and died at the scene
One former Louisville officer has already pled guilty to helping falsify information used to obtain the warrant.
City has settled a number of lawsuits related to the incident, including $12 million payment to Taylor’s family in wrongful death lawsuit
The U.S. Justice Department has found Louisville police have engaged in a pattern of violating constitutional rights following an investigation prompted by the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
A Justice Department report found the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government and Louisville Metro Police Department, [LMPD], “engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives people of their rights under the Constitution and federal law.”
The report said the Louisville police department “discriminates against Black people in its enforcement activities,” uses excessive force and conducts searches based on invalid warrants. It also said the department violates the rights of people engaged in protected speech, like the street protests in the city in the summer of 2020.
“This conduct is unacceptable, it is heartbreaking,” Garland said.
The sweeping probe announced in April 2021 is known as a “pattern or practice” investigation — examining whether there is a pattern of unconstitutional or unlawful policing inside the department.
Taylor, a young Black woman, was roused from her bed by police who came through the door using a battering ram after midnight on March 13, 2020.
Three officers fired shots after Taylor’s boyfriend, fearing an intruder, shot an officer in the leg. 26-year-old Taylor, who worked as an EMT, was struck several times and died at the scene.
AG Merrick Garland announced Wednesday Justice Department’s findings from its investigation of the Louisville Metro Police Dept and Louisville Metro govt. DOJ launched probe April 2021, a year after Breonna Taylor was shot dead in her home by Louisville cops
The warrant used to enter her home is now part of a separate federal criminal investigation, and one former Louisville officer has already pled guilty to helping falsify information used to convince a judge to sign the warrant.
The warrant was issued for the apprehension of a fugitive drug dealer. The suspect did not live in the home and no drugs were found in Taylor’s home.
The report released by the Justice Department on Wednesday showed how an anti-crime unit created by Louisville Metro Police Department in 2012 that became known for its “aggressive tactics” later rebranded in the face of intense community scrutiny. But the unit continued engaging in unlawful policing activities under its new banner, according to the report, underscoring how the department for years avoided implementing meaningful reforms.
“The Violent Incident Prevention, Enforcement and Response (VIPER) Unit focused its enforcement on ‘hot spots’ of violent crime, including by stopping people in certain neighborhoods for minor traffic infractions and other low-level offenses,” the report said.
Residents “called VIPER officers ‘jump out boys’ for their aggressive tactics, and protesters demonstrated in front of police headquarters to demand an end to the unit,” the report added.
The department rebranded VIPER as the Ninth Mobile Division in 2015, according to the report, and pulled most of its members from VIPER.
The result, according to the Justice Department, was that the new unit committed similar abuses to the ones that happened under the VIPER banner.
Louisville police have undergone five leadership changes since the Taylor shooting, and new Mayor Craig Greenberg is interviewing candidates for the next chief.
The city has settled a number of lawsuits related to the incident, including a $12 million payment to Taylor’s family that ended a wrongful death lawsuit.
Since 2020 the city has banned no-knock warrants, started a program that aims to send behavioral health professionals to some 911 calls, expanded community violence prevention efforts and sought to support health and wellness for officers, the report said.
The mother of Breonna Taylor said the findings released Wednesday by the Department of Justice regarding the Louisville Police Department “are an indicator that Breonna’s death is not in vain.”
“What was confirmed today is that I should still be able to to (sic) pick up the phone and reach my oldest daughter Breonna,” Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, wrote in a statement. “It took us having to fight day in and day out for years simply because I deserved justice for my daughter’s murder to kickstart this investigation, but today’s findings are an indicator that Breonna’s death is not vain.”
“Our fight will protect future potential victims from LMPD’s racist tactics and behavior. The time for terrorizing the Black community with no repercussions is over,” Palmer said.
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