WASHINGTON — The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department and the Louisville/Jefferson Metropolitan County government engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional behavior by routinely using excessive force, conducting searches based on invalid warrants, and unlawfully discriminating against Black people in police activities. an extensive federal investigation found.

Breona Taylor.family photo

The review, conducted by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, also found that police violate the rights of those «engaging in protected speech critical of police» and that some officers used racial slurs about black citizens. the city has arrived an agreement in principle to resolve constitutional violations found by federal investigators, the Justice Department said.

The report is similar to those issued in several other cities, including Ferguson, Missouri, after the death of Michael Brown in 2014. The Trump administration has walked away from federal investigations into unconstitutional policing, and the Louisville investigation was announced early in the Biden administration. , in 2021.

The Louisville investigation came after the botched police raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020. Four Louisville officers were federally charged in August in connection with Taylor’s death. The DOJ’s investigation of patterns and practices was not a criminal investigation, but rather looked at broader systemic problems in the police department.

“Breonna Taylor was a symptom of problems we’ve had for years,” a Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) leader told federal investigators. The report said that the actions of police officers «do not occur in a vacuum» and noted that «segregation, poverty and violence» affected police performance in the racially segregated city. The police department, which is 81% white, was accused of policing predominantly black neighborhoods.

The report notes that officers «have difficult jobs» and said the LMPD and metropolitan Louisville/Jefferson County government «have failed to provide officers and other employees with the support and resources they need to do their jobs effectively.» and legal», and that they had «poor training, poor facilities and equipment, and inadequate support for mental health and well-being».

“For years, the LMPD has practiced an aggressive style of policing that it deploys selectively, especially against Black people, but also against vulnerable people throughout the city,” the report states. «LMPD cites people for misdemeanors like wide turns and broken taillights, while felonies like sexual assault and homicide go unsolved.»

“Some officers show a lack of respect for the people they are sworn to protect,” the report continues. “Some officers have recorded themselves throwing drinks at pedestrians from their cars, insulting people with disabilities, and calling black people ‘monkeys,’ ‘animals,’ and ‘boys.’ This conduct erodes community trust, and the illegal practices of the LMPD and Louisville Metro undermine public safety.»

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.