by Jo Ellen Nott
Starting with a sex abuse scandal in 2017, the Louisville Metro Police Department has managed to draw the attention of the feds for a range of misconduct from wrongfully killing civilians to throwing beverages at them from unmarked police vehicles. All the cases are open, and most stem from social justice protests following the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
In 2017, a former Scout Explorer filed a lawsuit against officers of the LMPD who worked in the now-defunct career education program called Explorer Scouts. The 22-year-old’s lawsuit led to the conviction of three officers for deprivation of rights, attempted enticement, possession and distribution of child pornography, and transfer of obscene material to a minor. One officer received a 16-year sentence, another six years, and the third did not receive jail time.
From August 2018 through September 2019, two former Louisville detectives amused themselves and others by throwing large beverages and containers at residents from unmarked police vehicles. The Justice Department reported they would then speed off after hurling the drinks. Both officers made sure that the incidents were recorded on cellphones in their vehicle or one following behind them. The videos were then shown to other officers in their unit, the LMPD’s Ninth Mobile Division. The two pleaded guilty on June 21, 2022, to conspiracy to violate civil rights and will be sentenced on September 30.
On May 13, 2020, Emergency Room Tech Breonna Taylor died in her home after LMPD officers wrongly fired 32 times during a botched drug raid. After obtaining a no-knock search warrant, officers entered Taylor’s apartment prompting her boyfriend to fire one round believing them to be intruders. The shot hit a detective in the thigh unleashing the hail of bullets that killed the innocent woman. The detective shot in the thigh was cleared of wrongdoing and retired the following year. The officers who killed Taylor and the detective who obtained the search warrant were fired. The detective recently lost his appeal to get his job back.
On May 29, 2020, an LMPD officer fired, without provocation, pepper ball rounds at a local television crew covering the city’s social justice protests. The officer had an impromptu two-month paid-leave vacation at home after the incident and then was put on administrative reassignment while the LMPD and the feds investigate.
On June 1, 2020, a barbeque restaurant owner was fatally shot by the Kentucky National Guard after a melee caused by a LMPD officer shooting pepper ball rounds into a peaceful crowd. The officer was fired in February 2021 after a watchdog investigation found she violated several department policies that lead to restaurant owner’s death. The female officer was charged federally with excessive use of force, and the case remains open.
In the fall of 2020, one of the officers convicted of throwing drinks at innocent bystanders also engaged in a scheme to extort women. As part of the scheme, he hacked computer applications belonging to the women to steal compromising photos, videos, and other information. He then threatened the women that he would publish their personal digital property unless they gave him more compromising material, according to the Justice Department. The officer will be charged in both cases on September 30, 2022, and could spend 15 years in prison for his misconduct.
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