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The Justice Department Announced an Investigation into a Possible Pattern of Misconduct Within Louisville’s Police Department. Here’s Why That’s Important.

April 29, 2021

On Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced an investigation into the policing practices of the Louisville Metro Police Department to “assess whether LMPD engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force” and to “determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes.” 

The investigation comes one year after the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman in Louisville who was shot and killed when LMPD officers forced entry into her home while serving a warrant that authorized no-knock entry.

While the Kentucky State legislature just passed SB 4, a bill to significantly limit the use of no-knock warrants and require safeguards to prevent their misuse, the investigation will be vital to understanding any patterns of misconduct at the Louisville Metro Police Department and additional policy solutions necessary to prevent future incidents of police violence. 

To make the necessary, fundamental changes to policing and help save lives– particularly Black lives — in Louisville, across Kentucky and the nation, action is required at every level of government. From the state legislature to the Louisville City Council, there is more work to do in Kentucky to hold police accountable and prevent police violence before it happens.

Black residents make up less than 25 percent of the population in Louisville, but are disproportionately impacted by police use of force. According to Mapping Police Violence, Black people were killed by Louisville Metro Police at nearly four times the rate of white people. In Kentucky, 140 people have been killed by police officers since 2013. Gun violence, including shootings by police, costs Kentucky $4.9 billion each year, of which $181.1 million is paid by taxpayers.

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