After an investigation into the botched raid that killed Breonna Taylor, the Justice Department said Wednesday that Louisville Metro Police regularly use excessive force and practice "an aggressive style of policing" against Black people.
The revealing assessment paints a shocking picture of racist and abusive behavior in the Louisville police, reminiscent of practices common during the civil rights movement in southern cities.
Recent investigations identified a pattern of police leaders commissioning reports documenting excessive violence against African Americans, then suppressing or hiding the findings. The abuse and mistreatment even extended to disabled people and sex assault victims.
“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,” the report said.
“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.’”
According to the DOJ, Louisville police use tasers, police dogs, and unjustified neck restraints. Additionally, the police department executes search warrants without knocking and announcing them.
On Mar. 8, Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the results of the investigation.
“This conduct is unacceptable. It is heartbreaking. 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,” Garland said at a news conference. “And it is an affront to the people of Louisville who deserve better.”
The exposure of the extensive racist practices found within the Louisville Police Department is a testament to the cruel nature of Breonna Taylor's murder and that anti-Blackness is a pervasive issue in law enforcement.