racial justice

Ryan Van Velzer

State Rep. Attica Scott is suing several Louisville Metro Police officers. 

She’s joined in the suit by her daughter, Ashanti Scott, and Louisville activist and mayoral candidate Shameka Parrish-Wright.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, they said two officers violated their constitutional rights when they arrested them in late September during racial justice demonstrations, a day after the state Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced no officers would be charged for killing Breonna Taylor. 

They allege the two officers, Alex Eades and an unnamed officer listed as “John Doe,”  also falsely accused them of crimes and caused emotional distress.

Jeff Young

Federal investigators are collecting a catalogue of internal documents and records that would detail virtually every recorded interaction between Louisville Metro Police officers and citizens as they set the stage for a deep examination of the beleaguered agency.  

The day after U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland announced the investigation last month, attorneys with the United States Department of Justice and the local United States Attorney’s Office asked the city for particulars about police databases and files that detail when officers stop and search residents, when they use force, disciplinary measures and policy documents — including those “not presently made available to the public,” according to documents obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting through an open records request. 

Investigators will be examining union contracts, agreements with other government agencies and behavioral health providers, organizational charts, employee rosters, pay scales, training documents, and detailed descriptions of each division and specialized unit within the department, according to the DOJ’s request.

screenshot from news conference

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says city leaders across the country need to encourage police to de-escalate during protests, work with protest leaders and be patient amid drawn-out demonstrations.

Fischer made the comments during a virtual panel hosted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a national organization he leads as president. The remarks come nearly a year after the first protests sparked by the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

Protesters have consistently criticized Fischer for the aggressive police crackdown on demonstrations and accused him of not doing enough to rectify the troubled police department.

Ryland Barton

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he doesn’t think the year enslaved Africans were first brought to colonial America is one of the most important points in U.S. history.

McConnell made the comments Monday when asked why he sent a letter to the U.S. Education secretary, calling for the New York Times’ 1619 Project to not be included in school-related federal grant programs.

“There are a lot of exotic notions about what are the most important points in American history. I simply disagree with the notions the New York Times laid out there that the year 1619 was one of those years,” McConnell said during a news conference in Louisville.

Ryan Van Velzer

“It’s just a blessing that somebody is finally listening,” said Denorver “Dee” Garrett, a 29-year-old Louisville protester, fighting back tears. “That somebody is finally hearing our voices — after over a year.”

Garrett was speaking in Jefferson Square Park on Monday afternoon, not far from where an LMPD officer last week punched him in the face multiple times while police officers restrained him on the ground during an arrest. Garrett’s sense of relief follows news that the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the Louisville Metro Police Department and Louisville Metro Government. 

The investigation means the highest levels of the federal government will soon focus their scrutiny on Louisville.

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A Louisville police officer faces an internal investigation after an onlooker caught him on video punching a Black man repeatedly in the face, after the man was restrained and on the ground.

LMPD chief Erika Shields said in a statement the officer’s behavior “raises serious questions and is not consistent with LMPD training.”

She did not name the officer. The Professional Standards Unit investigation, which looks at violations of department policies, will focus on the officer’s conduct as well as the on-scene supervisor, Shields said. She did not name the supervisor.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky lawmakers revived a bill limiting no-knock warrants on the last day of the legislative session.

Senate Bill 4 falls short of what people protesting the death of Breonna Taylor have been calling for — a total ban on no-knocks. Taylor was shot and killed last March during a middle-of-the-night raid authorized by a no-knock warrant. Police officers were attempting to conduct a search related to a broader narcotics raid.

Rep. John Blanton, a Republican from Salyersville who helped write the final version of the bill, said it’s a compromise that will make people safer.

“Nobody got everything they wanted, but everybody got a little something. But I don’t feel like we changed the purpose for what we’re trying to do here,” said Blanton, a former state trooper.

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Colin Jackson

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary since Louisville police killed EMT Breonna Taylor during a raid on her home.

Several Bowling Green area residents gathered Saturday at the SoKY Marketplace to hold their own remembrance of Taylor's Life.

First-term Bowling Green City Commissioner Carlos Bailey was among those who spoke at the memorial.

He said proposals like a ban on no-knock search warrants like the one that led to Taylor's death can protect both citizens and officers.

"We want to protect people but also want to protect law enforcement as well. But we also want to make sure that people are held accountable when things do go awry. So hopefully, we've been talking behind the scenes and hopefully those conversations have been productive," Bailey said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott is calling on the U.S. attorney general to investigate the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police.

Scott, a Louisville Democrat, made the request in House Resolution 93, which she filed Friday with co-sponsors Rep. Nima Kulkarni, D-Louisville, and Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington. Scott said state officials have failed to properly investigate Taylor’s death, which is why she wants a new inquiry headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, whom the U.S. Senate confirmed on Wednesday.

“I wanted to make sure that we in Kentucky send a strong message to Louisville, our entire commonwealth and to the United States that we are not done seeking justice for Breonna Taylor,” Scott said. “With our new attorney general, Merrick Garland, it seemed like an important opportunity to submit this resolution calling on him to fully investigate the murder of Breonna Taylor, because the investigations have been botched, and there has been no justice for Breonna.”

Taylor family

A Saturday event is giving residents in the Bowling Green area the chance to gather in solidarity to mark the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death during a police raid in Louisville.

The rally organized by the group Bowling Green Freedom Walkers plans to honor the 26-year-old paramedic’s life with guest speakers, coat and jacket collections, and a banner to be presented to Taylor’s mother.

Karika Nelson, a founding member of the group, says she’s seen some progress since Taylor’s death, but would like to see more.

“I think Kentucky, since this whole movement with Black Lives Matter and after Breonna Taylor, that it has opened a lot of people’s eyes,” Nelson told WKU Public Radio. “But just saying, or seeing, or coming to a protest is not good enough—just agreeing with the theory. You have to be able to change somebody else’s mind, or stand up whenever it’s not the popular thing to stand up for.”

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would make it a crime to insult police officers and boost penalties for rioting.

Senate Bill 211 comes in reaction to racial justice protests in Louisville and across the state and country over the last year, and the bill’s advancement comes just short of the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death, which sparked some of those demonstrations.

Sen. Danny Carroll, a Republican from Benton, former assistant police chief and primary sponsor of the bill, said the measure was necessary to protect police officers.

“I will not apologize for passing laws to protect the people of this commonwealth, to protect the property of the business owners in this commonwealth, to protect our first responders,” Carroll said.

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky legislature is moving forward with a Republican-sponsored proposal to limit no-knock search warrants and not a Democratic bill favored by protesters.

The House Judiciary Committee heard both measures during a meeting on Wednesday, but designated House Bill 21, also known as Breonna’s Law for Kentucky, as “for discussion only,” preventing it from receiving a vote.

Instead, the committee unanimously advanced Senate Bill 4 sponsored by Republican Senate President Robert Stivers, which would limit no-knock searches to situations that involve allegedly violent activity.

Louisville Democratic Rep. Attica Scott is the primary sponsor of Breonna’s Law. She said Stivers’ measure doesn’t go far enough, but they are working together on the issue.

Chas Sisk | WPLN

After decades of protests, the Tennessee Historical Commission voted Tuesday to relocate a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state capitol.

The bust is one of three that will be moved to the Tennessee State Museum. The others depict U.S. Admiral David Farragut, a famed commander in the Union Navy during the Civil War, and U.S. Admiral Albert Gleaves, who served more than four decades.

More than 30 citizens spoke during the public comment period in the hearing Tuesday. Many of them advocated for removal of the Forrest bust, in large part because of the message it sends to Black Tennesseans. Forrest was involved in the slave trade, a massacre of many Black soldiers at Fort Pillow during the Civil War, and the Ku Klux Klan.

J. Tyler Franklin

Police reform wasn’t on the radar of most Kentucky lawmakers when Louisville police killed Breonna Taylor last March.

But after months of protests calling for change, politicians started to pay attention.

Demonstrations led to some new policies—the city of Louisville passed a ban on no-knock warrants and Lexington temporarily suspended them.

And at the statewide level, police reforms are moving forward through the state legislature, but they’re not everything the protesters hoped for.

Democratic Rep. Attica Scott’s bill to ban no-knock warrants, Breonna’s Law for Kentucky, will get its first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee this week.

 

  

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