Louisville Police Chief Cannot ‘Validate’ DOJ Findings

What is happening in Louisville? In March the US Department of Justice (DOJ) held a press conference announcing that the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) had a pattern-or-practice of unconstitutional policing. DOJ said that LMPD officers routinely violated constitutional rights and that the only remedy was for the City to enter into a consent decree. The new Mayor and Police Chief appeared at the press conference with the Attorney General and fully embraced the DOJ’s findings.

The Mayor said: “I know there are people who will look at this report, and they’ll be eager to find some way to minimize it or dismiss it. They’ll say it’s all politics, or that you could find examples like this in any city. No. This is not about politics or other places, this is about Louisville. This is about our city, our neighbors and how we serve them. We will not make excuses. We will make changes. We will make progress, continued progress, towards improvement and reform.”

Plaintiffs’ attorneys also embraced the DOJ report as evidence that LMPD violated their clients’ constitutional rights and so the City must pay damages. However, the County Attorney claims that the DOJ report is not based on facts or evidence and is simply a bunch of baseless and unsubstantiated allegations. Apparently the LMPD Police Chief has now changed her tune and no longer agrees with the DOJ findings, while the Mayor is standing by his earlier statements that LMPD is one of the worst police departments in the country.

After the press conference in March, DOJ and the City of Louisville went silent. No one knows what is going on behind the scenes. The Chief revealed in her testimony that DOJ has been quiet since March, and they have not provided any draft of a proposed consent decree.

Eight months ago, DOJ said that Louisville officers were routinely violating people’s constitutional rights and that these abuses could only be stopped with a consent decree. Apparently, DOJ is in no hurry to stop these abuses so either the DOJ does not care about constitutional policing, or the DOJ’s findings are baseless and no violations are occurring. Both statements could also be true.