Inside DOJ's SHOCKING Discovery That Louisville Police Kinda Racist!

Inside DOJ's SHOCKING Discovery That Louisville Police Kinda Racist!

Last year, the Department of Justice charged four current and former police officers for their part in the bogus 2020 police raid that killed Breonna Taylor. Attorney General Merrick Garland declared in a press conference that the officers "violated federal civil rights laws, and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death." These officers weren't the two who actually shot Taylor, but this was still an important step in the direction of justice.

Not surprisingly, it turns out that the Louisville police didn't just "oopsie" over a Black citizen's civil rights just this one time. The DOJ finished up an almost two-year review into the Louisville police department. What it discovered shouldn't shock anyone who is familiar with how the police operate, but the DOJ was polite enough to issue a detailed, scathing critique nonetheless.


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CNN reports:

The review, looking at whether the Louisville Metro Police Department used excessive force, found that officers use unreasonable tactics including unjustified neck restraints, police dogs and tasers. The report also found that the police department executes search warrants without knocking and announcing.

The DOJ report concludes that "[for] years LMPD has practiced an aggressive style of policing" — known to the lay Black public as just "policing" — "that it deploys selectively, especially against Black people, but also against vulnerable people throughout the city." That sounds an awful lot like systemic racism.

The report makes clear that the Louisville police's criminal conduct wasn't isolated to Breonna Taylor's home on the night of March 13, 2020. An LMPD leader admitted to the DOJ that "Breonna Taylor was a symptom of problems that we have had for years." Yeah, like racist policing that dates back to the slave patrols.

The LMPD cites people for minor offenses, such as wide turns and broken taillights. But doesn't "broken taillight policing" show all the rapists and murderers that the police mean business?! Nope. The DOJ reports points out that "serious crimes like sexual assault and homicide go unsolved,” like a dramatically unsatisfying episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

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

Jesus, racist cops are still calling Black folks "monkeys." It's 2023. Find some other mammals.

During a press conference Wednesday, Garland said, “This conduct is unacceptable." Damn right. "It is heartbreaking." Sure. "It erodes the community trust necessary for effective policing and it is an affront to the vast majority of officers who put their lives on the line every day to serve Louisville with honor." I guess. If the vast majority of Louisville police officers are Andy Taylor, then how do you explain all the institutional racism. You need more than a couple ultraviolent droogs to make a whole institution.

The DOJ report claims that officers have "difficult jobs" (we guess trying not to kill Black people) and police department leadership and the entire 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." Really, how much "support and resources" do you need to do your law enforcement job "lawfully"? That's sort of the bare minimum. The report further claims that the police had "deficient training, substandard facilities and equipment, and inadequate support for mental health and wellness."

I'd suggest giving cops support animals as a mental health and wellness resource but they reportedly let their police dogs go full Cujo on Black folks, including a 14-year-old boy who was just lying on the ground. According to the report: "Immediately after noticing the teen, the officer deployed his dog off-leash — without giving any warning — and ordered the dog to bite the teen at least seven times."

The child begged for help but the officer let the dog chow down for about 30 seconds before shouting at the terrified boy, "Stop fighting my dog!" Video shows the child wasn't fighting so much as serving as a canine charcuterie board. Weird how so many cops missed basic "don't be a psychopath" training but apparently have mastered the more advanced "establishing an alibi" course.

The DOJ report found that the Louisville Police Department leadership did shit all to stop this “unacceptable conduct."

Failures of leadership and accountability have allowed unlawful conduct to continue unchecked ... Even when city and police leaders announced solutions, they failed to follow through. In LMPD, officer misconduct too often goes unnoticed and unaddressed. At times, LMPD leaders have endorsed and defended unlawful conduct.

Over just the past six years, the LMPD has paid more than $40 million to resolve claims of police misconduct. That should come from the police officer's pension funds, not from taxpayer dollars. C'mon, just stop beating up or outright killing Black folks and invest in better public education. A 2014 study found that Kentucky consistently funded its school and paid its teachers well below the national average. Meanwhile, Louisville police keep having their funding increased. A year after Breonna Taylor's fatal shooting, the Louisville Metro Council approved a new, higher-paying contract for the LMPD's midlevel leadership. The Council even gave the LMPD $17.5 million in funding from American Rescue Plan. Now-retired Rep. John Yarmuth was Kentucky's sole member of Congress (both House and Senate) to vote for the ARP.

Garland declared the racist conduct "an affront to the people of Louisville who deserve better.” Louisville's Democratic Mayor Craig Greenberg promised to work with other city officials to “correct the mistakes of the past." He'd prefer the DOJ's report not become "politicized," which is somewhat naive, but we still hope some positive change can occur.

“This is not about politics or other places. This is about Louisville. This is about our city, our neighbors, and how we serve them,” he said. “We will make progress – continued progress towards improvement and reform. Towards making sure LMPD delivers services that respect the Constitution, increase trust and promote public safety and officer safety.”

Officer safety isn't the problem, of course. Unless a Black cop forgets to wear his uniform to bed. Then they might know how Breonna Taylor felt.

[CNN / NBC News / Justice Department]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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