On Tuesday (March 14), Mayor Craig Greenberg announced that as part of an agreement with the Louisville Metro Police Department, a Louisville police oversight body will now have the authority to interview members of law enforcement and have access to bodycam footage. “Our goal is to make LMPD the most trained, trusted, and transparent police department in America, and today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction, especially when it comes to trust and transparency,” Mayor Greenberg stated during the press conference.
According to CNN, the city created the inspector general office in 2020 after a botched police raid claimed the life of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician. She was asleep in her apartment when a group of LMPD officers entered without notice and exchanged fire with Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who mistook authorities for intruders. The result of Taylor’s tragic death and many others around America was a surge of protests nationwide under the Black Lives Matter movement.
The office was tasked with reviewing complaints against the police department and offering recommendations to the Civilian Review and Accountability Board. “The LMPD is truly wanting to be open and transparent and do what is right and what is best for the community, but also to ensure that our officers understand their due process as we move along with working with the inspector general’s office,” Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, Louisville interim police chief, said.
On March 8, the Department of Justice revealed shocking information about the LMPD after completing their multi-year investigation. “LMPD cites people for minor offenses, like wide turns and broken taillights, while serious crimes like sexual assault and homicide go unsolved,” the report mentioned. “Some officers demonstrate disrespect for the people they are sworn to protect. Some officers have videotaped themselves throwing drinks at pedestrians from their cars; insulted people with disabilities; and called Black people ‘monkeys,’ ‘animal,’ and ‘boy.'”
Like the inspector general’s office, the DOJ case launched after Taylor’s death. “But Louisville Metro’s and LMPD’s unlawful conduct did not start in 2020,” the report continued. “As an LMPD leader told us shortly after we opened this investigation, ‘Breonna Taylor was a symptom of problems that we have had for years.'”
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