Attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family calls changes in city letter about development project an effort to ‘clean things up’

Attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family calls changes in city letter about development project an effort to ‘clean things up’
Elliott Avenue in Louisville is described by the mayor's administration as as an area in need of stabilization and revitalization. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An original version of a city document obtained exclusively by WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters shows that City of Louisville officials were in talks with the Louisville Metro Police Department about a development project now tied to the Breonna Taylor case.

The Elliot Avenue Project centered around the street where Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, rented a home. A lawsuit filed on Taylor’s family’s behalf claims the development was the reason behind the warrants on Glover, which led officers to Breonna Taylor’s apartment the night of the fatal shooting.

It was LMPD’s Place Based Investigation squad that conducted the warrants on Glover’s home.

During a press conference on July 9, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer repeatedly denied anyone in his administration had talks with LMPD about the Elliott Avenue Project.

“We had no specific conversations with them, they are following the evidence in the case, Place Based Investigations, PBI,” Mayor Fischer said.

However, a letter titled “Project Overview” obtained exclusively through WAVE 3 News Troubleshooter sources states, “The Office of Community Development (OCD), in partnership with the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) continue to explore crime reduction measures on Elliott Avenue with an emphasis on place-based crime prevention strategies.”

The original letter was obtained by Troubleshooters through sources with a group of other documents dated November 2019. A portion of it mentioning a tie between the Office of Community Development and LMPD was omitted from the same letter given to Metro Council members Tuesday. Some paragraphs of the original letter had been copied and pasted, except for the line making the connection between the city and LMPD on Elliot Avenue.

Left: November 2019 letter on the Elliott Avenue Project from Mayor Greg Fischer's Office Right: July 2020 letter on the Elliott Avenue Project from Fischer's office sent to the Louisville Metro Council on July 15
Left: November 2019 letter on the Elliott Avenue Project from Mayor Greg Fischer's Office Right: July 2020 letter on the Elliott Avenue Project from Fischer's office sent to the Louisville Metro Council on July 15 (Source: Letter 1: WAVE 3 News / Letter 2: City of Louisville)

In an email, Jean Porter, the spokesperson for Fischer, said Elliott Avenue was identified by the mayor’s administration as needing revitalization because of the area’s crime rate as well as the number of vacant and abandoned properties on and around it. Porter said the original document was an earlier version of the Elliott Avenue Project description. She added that it has been continuously updated by the Office of Community Development as the project has gone on.

After the Mayor’s July 9th press conference, Porter emailed WAVE 3 News a clarification stating Codes and Regulations and Develop Louisville are in communication with LMPD about communities they are working in, seemingly contradicting Fischer’s previous statements.

Sam Aguiar, the attorney representing Taylor’s family said it the changes in the documents appear to be efforts by the mayor and his administration to clean things up and the changes only support the lawsuit’s allegations.

“This administration has shown time and time again that they are going to give you what they want to give you,” Aguiar said. “And only if they like what it says.”

The Government Accountability Committee is now moving forward with an investigation of its own into Fischer and his administration’s decisions which may include questions about the Elliott Avenue Project.

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