A closer look: LMPD protocol allows hand strikes to de-escalate during arrests

A closer look: LMPD protocol allows hand strikes to de-escalate during arrests

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As Louisville Metro Police Department officers attempted to arrest Denorver Garrett, 29, a protester accused of blocking traffic in Louisville on Sunday, an officer is seen on video striking Garrett in the head multiple times.

LMPD charged Garrett with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to his arrest report.

(WARNING: The following video is graphic and contains profanities and violence. Viewer discretion is advised. The story continues below the video)

GRAPHIC: Protester addresses getting punched by Louisville police officer during arrest

The officer’s actions have led people to question standard operating protocols on the use of force for LMPD officers. Chief Erika Shields released a statement after the incident, saying in part: “This raises serious questions and is not consistent with LMPD training.”

However, WAVE3 News took a look at the Standard Operating Procedure guidelines. Section 9.1.5, which pertains to the use of force, states: “Officers are not required to allow any suspect to be the first to exercise force and gain an advantage in a physical confrontation.”

Hand strikes have been one of the allowable use of force techniques by LMPD over the years, and hand strikes are one of the techniques taught to police officers to deescalate physical situations, among others.

Because Shields directed the LMPD Professional Standards Unit to investigate the incident, no one in the department can comment further on the situation and Garrett’s arrest.

WAVE3 News reached out to the River City FOP for comment, but President Ryan Nichols stated he also could not comment; however, he said some officers feel Shields’ statement regarding Garrett’s arrest did not show support for officers.

In an exclusive interview with Shields earlier this month, she specified how she wanted officers to conduct themselves.

”When I do talk to the officers, this is what I tell them: ‘I’m a cop. I love being a cop. I know the job is hard. I get it. I will support you. I’m also going to hold you accountable. If you police in a manner, consistent with what the training academy taught you, you’ll be fine,’” she said.

What’s left to be answered is whether Garrett used the level of resistance to warrant the kind of force the officers used during his arrest.

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