LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Metro Council approved the creation of a civilian review board for the police department, and that fact alone has social justice leaders calling it a win. However, because of all the questions surrounding Louisville Metro Police Department policy, at least one Metro Council member believes there should be an array of perspectives from each set of eyes reviewing police investigations.
Since March 13 when Breonna Taylor was shot and killed during an LMPD drug raid at her home, people started asking questions and a lot inconsistencies turned up within the police department.
Councilwoman Paula McCraney of District 7 introduced the measure to Metro Council. She had been working on the legislation since 2019 and was finally being able to start conversation about it in May. She believes the civilian review board will foster understanding between the community and LMPD.
“If you have nothing to hide, then you won’t fear a civilian review board,” McCraney said, “but there are some who drag down the department down, those are the ones who have something to hide, even LMPD officers who are wonderful cops, want to weed out.”
According to the draft of the ordinance, 11 people will serve on the board and there will be one inspector general who will be guided to investigate claims based off of presentations by the board members.
The ordinance states in order to be on the board a person must be three years removed from serving as a law enforcement officer within Jefferson County, which includes LMPD, KSP and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Family of any current law enforcement officer can not serve on the board.
Nominations for the board members will come from local organizations who can make suggestions for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to approve. According to the ordinance draft those organizations are as follows:
- The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky
- Greater Louisville Inc.
- The Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition
- Louisville Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- Louisville Urban League, Inc
- The University of Louisville, Chair of the Department of Public Health, for nominations of persons with expertise in the fields of mental health and substance abuse
Councilwoman Marilyn Parker of District 18 believes the organizations chosen don’t give a fair or balanced set of eyes reviewing investigations, as its one of the duties of the LMPD Civilian Review Board. Parker told WAVE 3 News there has to be representation from all groups of the community, including those with law enforcement background.
“There were three groups which we thought would provide more balance,” Parker said. “We just wanted just one person to be able to be selected from those three groups and that was one of the things that was taken out.”
However, McCraney said the board’s creation this is a positive step for the community as a whole, including those who have been advocating for change and community inclusion during the Breonna Taylor investigation.
“For them to see that things can happen in their favor that’s a big win for them, that’s a big boost for their movement. I’m excited for this city,” McCraney said.
Mayor Fischer stated before the 25-1 approval vote that he fully planned on signing the measure into law. After the vote passed, he told WAVE 3 News it was a monumental time for the city to pass its first ever creation of the LMPD Civilian Review Board.
“The perfect civilian review board would be made up of all types of members of the community,” Fischer said. “Especially those most impacted by the police and will have that balance of proper policing and what citizens rights are, the constitution guides us in everything we do.”
Click here for LMPD Civilian Review Board application.