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Victims of LMPD misconduct seek truth in DOJ probe

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 12:07 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There’s a wide range of people who have been involved in some of the scandals within the Louisville Metro Police Department that will now be under scrutiny in a Department of Justice probe. They include families and victims involved in the LMPD sexual abuse Explorer case, people who say they were wrongly accused during traffic stops, and those involved in the Breonna Taylor case.

In 2012, LMPD leaders, including former Chief Steve Conrad, covered up sexual abuse allegations against officers in the Explorer case. The victims were underage teens and children wanting to learn about becoming police officers.

In 2018, officer bodycam video shows Tae-Ahn Lea getting pulled over by police, who officers accused of being a violent offender, though he had no criminal history.

In 2020, civil unrest erupted across Louisville and in other places in the United States after Breonna Taylor’s death. LMPD officers met face-to-face with protesters as people demanded change following the 26-year-old’s killing.

Taylor died during a police raid after her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at LMPD officers serving a drug warrant at her apartment. After officers opened fire, Taylor was struck and killed; Walker was not injured.

Monday, the Department of Justice announced it is looking into patterns and practices of the police department.

Lonita Baker, who represents Taylor’s family, told WAVE 3 News it seems like this could be the chance to get change in Louisville. However, Baker said Taylor’s family remains skeptical of what will come of the federal probe into the department.

”This is just a pattern of behavior that’s been allowed to pervade itself within LMPD,” Baker said.

Baker also represents Lea and his family, who are still fighting the city in court after his controversial traffic stop.

She said the need for reform to happen is not just with how warrants are served and raids are conducted but also how traffic stops are handled.

Tad Thomas, who investigated the Explorer case and represents some of the alleged victims, told WAVE 3 News they are all still going through a legal battle due to officers giving false testimonies under oath and getting documents publicized. He said if there’s anything that will come of the DOJ probe, it’s the truth.

”What we need to see is the city — a recognition by the city they have problems,” Thomas said.

Thomas and Baker stand behind their clients, and they claim Mayor Greg Fischer, as well as past heads of LMPD, have never taken responsibility for the scandals within the department. Instead, they said investigations have been launched and dragged on without proper accountability being taken.

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