DOJ: Louisville Police Specifically Used ‘Excessive Force’ and Unjust Tactics Toward Black People

DOJ: Louisville Police Specifically Used ‘Excessive Force’ and Unjust Tactics Toward Black People

After a two-year investigation, the Department of Justice had found the Louisville Metro Police Department and Louisville/Jefferson County Metro government used excessive force, specifically toward Black people, according to NBC News.

The investigation found evidence that the department used excessive force, conduced searches on invalid warrants, and unlawfully discriminated against Black citizens. Officers also were found to use unjust tactics including unjustified neck restraints, police dogs, and tasers.

“For years, LMPD has practiced an aggressive style of policing that it deploys selectively, especially against Black people, but also against vulnerable people throughout the city,” the report said, according to CNN.

“Some officers demonstrate disrespect for the people they are sworn to protect,” it continued. “Some officers have videotaped themselves throwing drinks at pedestrians from their cars; insulted people with disabilities; and called Black people ‘monkeys,’ ‘animal,’ and ‘boy.’”

Conducted by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the review also found police violated the rights of those “engaged in protected speech critical of policing.” The Justice Department has said it has reached an agreement with the city to resolve the constitutional violations found by federal investigators.

The spotlight was put on Louisville police after Breonna Taylor’s murder drew national attention. In 2020, Taylor fell victim to a botched raid while looking for another suspect. Four current and former Louisville police officers involved in the deadly raid have been federally charged with civil rights violations.

Another officer pleaded guilty to conspiring to falsify an affidavit for a warrant to search Taylor’s home and covering up false documents by lying to investigators.

The report found LMPD’s leaders failed to curb the “unacceptable” conduct. “Failures of leadership and accountability have allowed unlawful conduct to continue unchecked,” the Justice Department said. “In LMPD, officer misconduct too often goes unnoticed and unaddressed. At times, LMPD leaders have endorsed and defended unlawful conduct.”

LMPD leaders responded, admitting to having knowledge of the identified problems, with one telling federal investigators, according to NBC News, “Breonna Taylor was a symptom of problems that we have had for years.” The police department, which is 81% white, was charged with patrolling neighborhoods that were predominately Black.