Metro Council introduces ordinance after constable-involved shoo - News, Weather & Sports

Metro Council introduces ordinance after constable-involved shooting

David Whitlock David Whitlock
Councilman David James Councilman David James
Councilman Rick Blackwell Councilman Rick Blackwell
Sam Crawford Sam Crawford

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Council members considered a resolution and an ordinance resulting from the ongoing investigation into Jefferson County Constable David Whitlock.

Earlier this month, Whitlock shot a woman in a Walmart parking lot. Thursday night, some members of the Metro Council and some state organizations vowed to keep similar incidents from happening. It's the push to drastically limit the power of constables in Jefferson County.

"It's an issue of public safety," said District 6 Councilman David James.

If the Metro Council has its way, the constable job description will read: Checking home addresses for 911 and writing parking tickets.  James said that's more than enough responsibility for a constable.

The tough stance comes as the Louisville Metro Police Department's Public Integrity Unit investigates Whitlock for shooting 43-year-old Tammie Ortiz in the face and arm after he said she was shoplifting and ran over his foot at a Pleasure Ridge Park Walmart.

Whitlock was also investigated years ago for appointing deputies to conduct traffic stops and serve warrants even after then mayor Jerry Abramson told him not to.

"To have these staff members acting as a police unit with little, if any, training," complained District 12 Councilman Rick Blackwell.

Thursday night, Blackwell and other council members introduced a resolution to have the Commonwealth Attorney investigate and possibly indict Whitlock for malfeasance, allegedly appointing deputies, using blue lights in his car, wearing badges and failing to file monthly reports with the county clerk.

Council members also introduced an ordinance that would impose fines and criminally charge a constable and staffers for using badges and wearing uniforms. The council is not alone in it' constable stance.

"There's no question it brought some new momentum to the issue," said Sam Crawford who spoke to the Metro Council on behalf of the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association.

A spokesman for the County Judge Executives Association asked the Metro Council for its support saying, "The overzealous actions of constables have been the cause of embarrassment and legal action in many jurisdictions."

The two groups are among several who will ask state lawmakers to eliminate all duties of constables in the 2012 session.

"It will eliminate any existing duties that are presently in KRS," Crawford explained.

Constables would exist with no duties because it would take a constitutional amendment to remove the position.

Thursday night was the first reading of the ordinance and resolution.

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