DOJ finds pattern of civil rights violations by Louisville PD

FILE – Police and protesters converge during a demonstration, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. Recent revelations about the search warrant that led to Breonna Taylor’s death have reopened old wounds in Louisville’s Black community and disrupted the city’s efforts to restore trust in the police department. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(NewsNation) — An investigation by the Department of Justice after the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor found that the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) and the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro government routinely violated Black citizens’ civil rights and discriminated against them.

The results of the investigation, released just days before the third anniversary of Taylor’s March 13, 2020, death found that the two departments “engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.”

“The Justice Department has concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that Louisville Metro and LMPD engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the constitutional rights of the residents of Louisville — including by using excessive force, unlawfully discriminating against Black people, conducting searches based on invalid warrants, and violating the rights of those engaged in protected speech critical of policing,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in the release.

The DOJ also announced that the two agencies have committed to resolving the myriad of issues highlighted in the findings of the investigation.

Here are the some of the findings of the investigation against the two agencies:

  • Uses excessive force, including unjustified neck restraints and the unreasonable use of police dogs and tasers.
  • Conducts searches based on invalid warrants.
  • Unlawfully executes search warrants without knocking and announcing.
  • Unlawfully stops, searches, detains, and arrests people during street enforcement activities, including traffic and pedestrian stops.
  • Unlawfully discriminates against Black people in its enforcement activities.
  • Violates the rights of people engaged in protected free speech critical of policing.
  • Along with Louisville Metro, discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities when responding to them in crisis.

The findings and expected cooperation with the DOJ’s recommendations will help re-shape the culture of policing in Louisville, said Ben Crump, the renowned civil rights lawyer who represented Taylor’s family.

In a statement, Crump said, “It’s steps like these, and involvement of the Attorney General and the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, that will move our nation forward and prevent future tragedies like the one that took the life of Breonna Taylor and the countless others who have been killed unnecessarily by law enforcement.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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