Press "Enter" to skip to content

US probe finds Louisville police discriminate against Black residents

The American police in Louisville city of
Kentucky state routinely discriminate against Black
residents, use excessive force and conduct illegal searches,
the US Justice Department has said, following an investigation prompted by Breonna Taylor’s killing in 2020.

The department’s findings come on Wednesday nearly two years after US
Attorney General Merrick Garland launched the civil rights investigation into the department whose officers shot Taylor dead after bursting into her apartment on a no-knock warrant, as well as the Louisville-Jefferson County government.

The investigation found a wide-ranging pattern of misconduct by
police, including using dangerous neck restraints and police
dogs against people who posed no threat, and allowing the dogs
to continue biting people after they surrendered.

At a news conference, Garland said the department had
reached a “consent decree” with the Louisville police, which
will require the use of an independent monitor to oversee
policing reforms.

“This conduct is unacceptable. It is heartbreaking. It
erodes the community trust necessary for effective policing,”
Garland said. “And it is an affront to the people of Louisville,
who deserve better.”

It is the first investigation of US policing begun and completed
by the Biden administration, which had promised to focus on
racial injustice in law enforcement after a spate of high-profile
police killings of Black Americans.

The deaths of Taylor and
George Floyd, in particular, drew national outrage and sparked
the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

“I don’t even know what to say today. To know that this
thing should never have happened and it took three years for
anybody else to say that it shouldn’t have,” Taylor’s mother,
Tamika Palmer, told a news conference after the findings were

Black man Keenan Anderson ‘Tased to death’ by US police

READ MORE: Video shows Louisiana police brutality in deadly arrest of Black man

Minor offences

The investigation found the police department used
aggressive tactics selectively against Black people, who
comprise roughly one in four Louisville residents, as well as
other vulnerable people, such as those with behavioural health

Police cited people for minor offences like wide turns and
broken taillights, while serious crimes like sexual assault and
homicide went unsolved, the investigation found, adding minor offences
were used as a pretext to investigate unrelated criminal

Some Louisville police officers even filmed themselves
insulting people with disabilities and describing Black people
as “monkeys,” the Justice Department said.

It also found that
officers quickly resorted to violence.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenburg told reporters the Justice
Department’s report brought back “painful memories” and vowed to
implement reforms.

“Our city has wounds that have not yet healed and that’s why
this report … is so important and so necessary,” he said.

READ MORE: US on edge over video showing police brutality victim crying out for mother

More investigations

The killings of both Taylor and Floyd prompted the Justice
Department in 2021 to open civil rights investigations, known as
“pattern or practice” investigations, into the police departments in
Louisville and Minneapolis to determine if they engaged in
systemic abuses.

The national debate over police violence was again rekindled in early 2023 after the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, after a brutal beating by officers in Memphis, Tennessee.

Under Garland’s leadership, the Justice Department has
sought to reinvigorate its civil rights enforcement programme, an
area civil rights advocates say was left in tatters by former
US president Donald Trump.

During the Trump administration, for instance, former attorney general Jeff Sessions moved to curtail the use of
consent decrees with police departments, saying they reduced

The Justice Department has since restored their use and
launched multiple civil rights investigations into police
departments, local jails and prisons across the country.

The department’s 90-page investigative report recommended 36
measures for Louisville police, including revamping policies on
search warrants, new use-of-force training for officers,
requiring body-worn cameras to be activated, documenting all
police stops, and improving civilian oversight.

In 2021, Garland also announced new policies for federal law
enforcement agencies including the FBI, which now prohibit them
from conducting “no-knock” entries like the one used against
Taylor by local police.

In August, federal prosecutors charged four current and
former Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their roles in
the botched 2020 raid.

One of those, former Louisville detective Kelly Goodlett, pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges that she helped falsify the search warrant that led to Taylor’s death.

READ MORE: Lawyer: US Deputies shot Andrew Brown ‘execution-style’ in back of head

Biden: ‘Systemic racism’ in US a ‘stain on nation’s soul’

More from AmericasMore posts in Americas »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *