Breonna Taylor Taking pictures Spurs Federal Probe Into Louisville Police – Courthouse Information Service
The investigation is the second under the Biden administration to target law enforcement agencies involved in high-profile deaths of black residents.
A protester holds up a painting by Breonna Taylor during a rally to mark the anniversary of the year she died on March 13, 2021 in Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, Kentucky. (AP Photo / Timothy D. Easley)
WASHINGTON (CN) – Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday afternoon that the Department of Justice would conduct a sample or investigation of the Louisville Metro Police Department a year after officers shot and killed a black woman who was in bed.
“Today’s announcement is based on a comprehensive review of publicly available information about LMPD by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division,” Garland said at a press conference. He was joined by the newly confirmed Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta.
“There are roughly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in this country at the federal, state, and local levels. In any case, committed officials put themselves at risk to protect others, ”said the Attorney General. “Fostering public trust between communities and law enforcement agencies is essential to make both communities and the police force safer.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Justice Department on Monday. (Almond Ngan / Pool via AP)
The investigation will investigate whether the LMPD engages in discriminatory policing, unreasonable use of force and unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, and whether it “unlawfully executes search warrants in private households”, such as the arrest warrant that resulted in the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor on Jan. March 2020.
The Justice Department will also examine whether the agency uses violence against people with behavioral disorders or those who exercise their right to freedom of expression. Ultimately, attorneys and staff will investigate whether the law enforcement agency has violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Safe Streets Act of 1968, or the 14th Amendment.
The investigation comes less than a week after Garland announced a similar investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department into the death of George Floyd. Former MPD officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of Floyd’s death last week.
The Louisville investigation is being conducted by professional lawyers from the Civil Rights Division and the Civil Division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky. Staff strive to understand the department’s policies, how officers are trained and how the policies and training are implemented, and how officers are held accountable for deviations from their training, according to a senior DOJ official.
“The Constitution and federal law mandate that law enforcement officers treat all people fairly and fairly, regardless of race, disability, or participation in protected First Amendment activity,” Pamela S. Karlan, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “The investigation we are announcing today will investigate whether these laws are being violated, while also analyzing the basic types of violations that we may find.”