Louisville Police Operations Under Federal Review
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department is opening a major police investigation in Louisville, Kentucky, into the death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020, who was shot dead by police during a raid on her home, announced Monday Attorney General Merrick Garland.
This is the second such investigation of a law enforcement agency by the Biden administration in a week; Garland also announced an investigation into police tactics in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd. The attorney general said there was still no equal justice under the law and vowed to take a critical eye on racism and legal issues when he took the job. Few such investigations have been initiated under the Trump administration.
Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician who was studying to be a nurse, was woken up by police who entered through the door using a ram. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was fired once. An arrest warrant has been approved as part of a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found in her home.
The investigation announced Monday involves the Louisville-Jefferson County Metropolitan Government and the Louisville Metro Police Department. This is a “model or practice” – examining whether there is an unconstitutional or illegal policing model or practice – and will be a more in-depth examination of the police service as a whole.
Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family, posted a celebratory social media post shortly after the announcement.
“Boom. Thanks,” he wrote. Aguiar and other attorneys negotiated a $ 12 million settlement in September with the city of Louisville over Taylor’s death.
The investigation will specifically examine whether the Louisville Metro Police Department engages in unreasonable pattern of force, including against persons engaged in peaceful activities, and will also examine whether the police department is proceeding. unconstitutional arrests, searches and seizures and if the department illegally carries out searches. warrants, Garland said.
The investigation will also examine the training officers receive, the system in place to hold officers accountable and “assess whether the LMPD engages in discriminatory behavior on the basis of race”, among other things, he said. declared.
Former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin was convicted of Floyd’s murder last week, but no one has been charged in the Taylor case, though his case has also fueled protests against police brutality and racism systemic.
His death sparked a nationwide debate over the use of so-called “no toc” search warrants, which allow officers to enter a home without delay and announce their presence. Warrants are typically used in drug cases and other sensitive investigations where police believe a suspect may be likely to destroy evidence. But there has been growing criticism in recent years that warrants are overused and abused.
Prosecutors will speak with community leaders, residents and police officials in connection with the Louisville investigation and will issue a public report if a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct is discovered, Garland said. He noted that the ministry had implemented some changes after a settlement with Taylor’s family and said the Justice Department’s investigation would take them into account.
“It is clear that officials in Minneapolis and Louisville, including law enforcement, recognize the importance and urgency of our efforts,” Garland said.
Louisville hired former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields in January. She became the fourth person to head the department since Taylor’s death on March 13, 2020. Longtime chief Steve Conrad was forced to leave this summer after officers responding to a shooting at a protest did not turn on their body cameras. Two acting appointments followed before Shields was given the job.
Shields resigned from the main Atlanta post in June after the death of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who was shot in the back by police in a restaurant parking lot. Shields remained with the Atlanta Department in a lesser role.
Kentucky lawmakers passed a partial ban on strike ban warrants last month. The measure would only allow arrest warrants to be issued without knocking if there was “clear and convincing evidence” that the “alleged crime is a crime which would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender.” Warrants should also be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Louisville Associate Press Editor Dylan Lovan contributed to this report.
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