Nearly 3 Years After Breonna Taylor's Killing, DOJ Finds Louisville Police Discriminate Against Black People

The DOJ concluded the Louisville Metro Police Department, made up of 81 percent of White officers, discriminates against Black people

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor. Photo: Breonna Taylor/instagram

Nearly three years after the death of Breonna Taylor, a Department of Justice investigation confirms police in Louisville discriminate against Black people and engage in other "practice(s) of conduct that deprive people of their rights."

Based on police data, documents and thousands of hours of police body cam footage, the DOJ concluded the Louisville Metro Police Department, made up of 81 percent of White officers, uses excessive force, including unjustified neck restraints and the unreasonable use of police dogs and tasers, conducts searches based on invalid warrants, unlawfully executes search warrants without knocking and announcing and discriminates against Black people, among other concerning behaviors.

The report, conducted by the Civil Rights Division and released Wednesday, details how some officers allegedly use "an aggressive style of policing that it deploys selectively, especially against Black people, but also against vulnerable people throughout the city."

"LMPD cites people for minor offenses, like wide turns and broken taillights, while serious crimes like sexual assault and homicide go unsolved."

"Some officers demonstrate disrespect for the people they are sworn to protect," the report reads. "Some officers have videotaped themselves throwing drinks at pedestrians from their cars; insulted people with disabilities; and called Black people 'monkeys,' 'animal,' and 'boy.'"

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The report alleges leadership and accountability failures are to blame for the unlawful officer conduct within the department.

It specifically mentions the uproar and civil unrest caused by the death of Taylor, who was killed in her sleep during a no-knock search warrant conducted by the LMPD just after midnight on March 13, 2020.

Officers charged unannounced through the front door of Taylor's home before firing off more than 20 shots. Taylor, a 26-year-old aspiring nurse, was fatally wounded, but clung to life for five minutes, before dying on her apartment floor in front of her boyfriend.

"Breonna Taylor was a symptom of problems that we have had for years," the report reads, citing an LMPD leader.

During a Wednesday morning press conference acknowledging the DOJ findings, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said he and Louisville Metro Police interim Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel "are taking action to reform and improve how our police department operates."

"The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding that we take action. The people of Louisville are demanding that we take action," Greenberg said, according to NBC News.

In response to the scathing report, Kentucky state Rep. Keturah Herron tweeted, "The community of Louisville have been speaking out against policing in Louisville for decades. [The Justice Department] just solidified what many have dealt with including myself. The next leg of the race starts today. There are many questions and we the community have the answers."

According to the report, since 2020, the LMPD has banned no-knock search warrants.

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