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26 Apr, 2021 19:55

DoJ to investigate cops & government of Louisville, KY following Breonna Taylor’s police shooting death

DoJ to investigate cops & government of Louisville, KY following Breonna Taylor’s police shooting death

The US Department of Justice will investigate the police and government of Louisville, Kentucky, where black woman Breonna Taylor was shot dead by officers at her home in 2020, Attorney General Merrick Garland has said.

The civil investigation into the Jefferson County Metro Government and Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) will determine whether the force engages in a “pattern or practice” of violations of the Constitution or federal law, Garland said.

The wide-ranging inquiry will look at whether the LMPD uses “unreasonable force” against peaceful persons, and determine whether the department uses unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, and illegally executes search warrants, he said.

He added that the LMPD would also be examined for potential discriminatory conduct “on the basis of race” and whether it “fails to provide public services that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD chief Erika Shields have pledged their support and cooperation with the probe, Garland added.

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Fischer told a press briefing that Louisville stands “ready to assist” the investigation.

Taylor’s killing in March last year sparked numerous protests, before drawing further attention during the global Black Lives Matter demonstrations following the death of the black man George Floyd at the hands of police in May.

Taylor was killed after plainclothes officers entered her home using a battering ram as they executed a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who fired on cops as they entered her home, wounding one officer.

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The police said they believed a previous boyfriend of Taylor’s had used the property to stash drugs. Officers fired 32 rounds, according to an FBI ballistics report, some of which hit Taylor, who died from her injuries.

No officers have been directly charged over her death.

The DoJ’s sweeping investigation into Louisville policing is the second such probe recently announced by Garland.

Last week, he said the department would analyze police tactics in Minneapolis, after former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s murder.

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