James, Peden agree Shields is right choice for LMPD chief

James, Peden agree Shields is right choice for LMPD chief
Councilmen James Peden (foreground) & David James

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Members of the Louisville Metro Council weighed in Thursday on the hiring of Erika Shields as new chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Shields is a 25-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department where she served as chief. She is taking over as the head of LMPD by succeeding Interim Chief Yvette Gentry.

Shields resigned as the police chief in Atlanta after an officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, in a fast-food restaurant parking lot.

Brooks was under investigation for a possible DUI at a Wendy’s when, a video would later show, he reached for an officer’s taser. The video showed a struggle in which an officer can been heard telling Brooks to release his taser before Brooks was able to pull it away from him.

Officer Garrett Rolfe then shot Brooks three times, killing him.

Critics of the incident claim Brooks was running away, while Rolfe argued he and his fellow officers’ lives would have been in danger had Brooks paralyzed them with the taser. Rolfe was later arrested and charged with murder.

The shooting happened in June and sparked riots and protests, which eventually led to Shields resigning. She said she wanted Atlanta to move forward and did not want to be a distraction.

Louisville Metro Council President David James said Shields’ resignation from Atlanta PD is not a cause for concern.

“Not at all,” James told WAVE 3 News. “You can’t be a police chief in any major city in this country without having some adversity of some sort. That just comes with the territory.”

Republican District 23 Metro Councilman James Peden also agreed Shields is the right choice for the job.

“She understood the history, she understands the culture, and that really, really came out in her interview,” Peden said.

Shields will take up her new role on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

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