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DOJ To Investigate Louisville Police In Response To Death Of Breonna Taylor

The Justice Department will launch an investigation into the Louisville Metro Police Department to determine if there is a pattern of discrimination or excessive force within its ranks, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday.

The investigation marks the launch of the second such "pattern or practice" investigation since Garland took over as attorney general and comes more than a year after the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville, Ky., police fueled worldwide protests against police violence and racial injustice.

"The investigation will assess whether LMPD [Louisville Metro Police Department] engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force, including with respect to people involved in peaceful, expressive activities," Garland said.

"It will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes."

Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician, was shot and killed in her home in March 2020 by police as they attempted an early-morning narcotics raid on her apartment.

Taylor was neither the subject of the warrant nor was the suspect at Taylor's home.

The city settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Taylor's family in September for $12 million. The settlement included a series of police reforms. Louisville had earlier also banned no-knock warrants.

The police department fired one of the officers involved in the killing last year. The department said officer Brett Hankison "displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Monday's announcement follows the launch of a similar "pattern or practice" investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department last Wednesday. That move came a day after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on murder charges for the death of George Floyd.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.