The Justice Department will conduct an investigation into the practices of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Monday (April 26).
According to CNN, the news of a probe comes a little over a year after the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by LMPD officers during a botched raid. Her death sparked nationwide protests and the police department came under scrutiny for how her case was handled.
While speaking at the Justice Department’s headquarters, Garland referred to Taylor’s death as he announced the investigation, which he said “will assess whether (LMPD) engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force, including with respect to people involved in peaceful expressive activities.”
“It will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes,” Garland said, adding that “it will also assess whether LMPD engages in discriminatory conduct on the basis of race, or fails to perform public services that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Investigation will include comprehensive review of the Louisville police department policies and training.”
The attorney general said that “if there’s reasonable cause to believe there is a pattern or practice of constitutional or statutory violations,” the Justice Department “will issue a public report of our conclusions” and will “aim to work with the city and police department to arrive at a set of mutually agreeable steps that they can take to correct and prevent unlawful patterns and practices.”
None of the LMPD officers who were involved in Taylor’s shooting were charged for her death. Former LMPD Det. Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for blindly firing into the apartments of her neighbors, which endangered the lives of three people, including a pregnant woman, a man and a child.
Attorney Sam Aguiar, who represents Taylor’s family, told CNN that the probe is “absolutely wonderful news,” adding that they’ve “known for a long time that our police department is plagued by issues that are continuously swept under the rug.”
The investigation will be led by the department’s civil rights division.