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DOJ report: Louisville police dept. violates citizens' civil rights

The Department of Justice report comes three years after Louisville Metro Police officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor during a no-knock raid.
Police protests in Louisville, Kentucky, in September 2020.
Posted at 1:15 PM, Mar 08, 2023

The Department of Justice issued a report on the practices of the Louisville Metro Police Department, stating it has “reasonable cause” to believe the department engages “in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives people of their rights under the Constitution and federal law.”

The report was released on Wednesday, nearly three years after officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor during a no-knock raid. 

The Department of Justice alleged the department of a practice of using excessive force, conducting searches based on invalid warrants, unlawfully executing no-knock warrants and making unlawful stops, searches, detainments and arrests. 

The DOJ said the department unlawfully discriminates against Black people and those with behavioral health disabilities. The DOJ also accuses the department of violating the rights of people protesting policing. 

The DOJ did commend the department for taking steps toward addressing some of these issues before the issuance of the report. 

“But they must do more to address the legal violations — and the root causes of those violations — identified in this report,” the report said.

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Federal officials made 36 various recommendations, ranging from policy changes on use of force to civilian oversight. 

“We would inherit and embrace this opportunity to improve LMPD,” said Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said Wednesday. “This work is essential to reducing violent crime and strengthening public safety, which is the number one responsibility of city government.”

Taylor’s March 12, 2020, death prompted months of protests in the city. Three of the officers were fired and four officers were charged by the DOJ for violating Taylor’s civil rights.