Louisville’s police routinely violate constitutional rights and federal law, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said following a two-year investigation following the death of Breonna Taylor.
The DOJ announced the findings of its investigation on Wednesday in a press conference and 90-page report. Federal investigators said their review found that officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) “engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.”
Some of the report’s findings include use of excessive force, executing search warrants without knocking or announcing, using invalid search warrants, and violating the rights of protesters.
The LMPD “[u]nlawfully discriminates against Black (sic) people in its enforcement activities” and “discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities when responding to them in crisis,” the DOJ said.
“The Justice Department has concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that Louisville Metro and LMPD engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the constitutional rights of the residents of Louisville — including by using excessive force, unlawfully discriminating against Black (sic) people, conducting searches based on invalid warrants, and violating the rights of those engaged in protected speech critical of policing,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.
Garland added that the DOJ will “work closely with Louisville Metro and LMPD to negotiate toward a consent decree and durable reforms that protect both the safety and civil rights of Louisville’s residents.”
The DOJ announced Wednesday that it would begin a similar review into the practices and procedures of the Memphis Police Department, focusing on its special police units. The review was prompted after a handful of officers were seen on video allegedly beating Tyre Nichols to death in January.
The Department of Justice launched its review of LMPD after police shot and killed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor during a no-knock police raid. During the raid, Taylor’s boyfriend fired at officers, later saying he believed that intruders had broken into the home. Taylor was shot multiple times when police returned fire.
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The DOJ has pursued charges against four officers involved in the raid, alleging a number of civil rights violations, obstruction, and inappropriate use of force.
A grand jury indicted one of the officers in September 2020 on charges of wanton endangerment and disregard for the safety of Taylor’s neighbors. The officer was later acquitted of the charges last year.