In today’s episode of You…You Don’t Say, a federal investigation has found that law enforcement in the city of Louisville engages in excessive force and discriminatory practices against its Black citizens. And, when I tell you I am SHOCKED and SHOOKETH and in DISBELIEF and in AWE of this completely unexpected news that no one could have predicted in the past 400 American years or so.
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According to NBC News, the 2020 police killing of Breonna Taylor prompted a review by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division into the practices and behavior of officers in the Louisville Metro Police Department as well as officials in the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro government. And wouldn’t you know it—the investigation found that LMPD officers “use dangerous neck restraints against people who pose no threats,” deploy “police dogs against people who pose no threat,” and allow “dogs to continue biting people after they have surrendered,” use tasers in ways that are “unreasonable and unsafe,” use excessive force when it isn’t necessary after they “unnecessarily escalate encounters,” execute searches “based on invalid warrants,” and use racist slurs like “monkey”, “animal” and “boy.”
(Seriously, I hope you guys were sitting down for all of that. I would hate it if you fell over from shock and hurt yourselves.)
The DOJ found that the police violate the rights of those “engaged in protected speech critical of policing” and that some officers used racial slurs about Black citizens. “The city has reached an agreement in principle to resolve the constitutional violations found by federal investigators,” the Justice Department said.
The Department of Justice’s report is similar to those issued in several other cities, including Ferguson, Missouri, after the death of Michael Brown in 2014, adds NBC. The Trump administration backed away from federal investigations into unconstitutional policing, and the investigation into Louisville was announced early in the Biden administration, in 2021.
I’m sure you’re all equally surprised that Donald Trump decided to swipe left on federal police investigations from his White Nationalist Tinder account, but, to be fair, he was really busy proving an un-stolen election was stolen from him, so…
Anyway, apparently policing in Louisville has gotten so bad that even members of the LMPD are like: “Yeah, we’re kinda f**ked up!”
“Breonna Taylor was a symptom of problems that we have had for years,” one Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) leader told federal investigators, reports NBC. The report said that police officers’ actions “do not happen in a vacuum” and noted that “segregation, poverty, and violence” affected policing in the racially segregated city. The police department, which is 81% white, was charged with patrolling neighborhoods that were predominately Black.
The report notes that officers “have difficult jobs” and said that the LMPD and Louisville/Jefferson County Metro government “have not given officers and other employees the support and resources they need to do their jobs effectively and lawfully,” and that they had “deficient training, substandard facilities and equipment, and inadequate support for mental health and wellness.”
I just really need to understand what “resources” LMPD officers need just so they can stop falsifying warrants and killing Black people for no discernable reason.
“For years, LMPD has practiced an aggressive style of policing that it deploys selectively, especially against Black people, but also against vulnerable people throughout the city,” according to the the report. “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 continues. “Some officers have videotaped themselves throwing drinks at pedestrians from their cars; insulted people with disabilities; and called Black people ‘monkeys,’ ‘animal,’ and ‘boy.’ This conduct erodes community trust, and the unlawful practices of LMPD and Louisville Metro undermine public safety.”
So, now that we know the astonishing, startling, and remarkable news that the LMPD is a diet Klan organization that treats Black people like—well, like how cops typically treat Black people, what exactly is being done about it? So far it appears that what city officials are doing about it is—being vague about what they’re doing about it.
“The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding that we take action. The people of Louisville are demanding that we take action,” Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said Wednesday.
He also noted that he and Louisville Metro Police interim Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel “are taking action to reform and improve how our police department operates.”
I’m not sure why these people think “taking action” is any kind of a description of what police accountability looks like.
Anyway, I know this was a lot for y’all to digest. Take all the time you (don’t) need.