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DOJ officials request community involvement in federal investigation of LMPD, Metro Government

In the virtual meeting, officials said they wanted people’s candid experiences with LMPD, both positive and negative
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:20 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In a public forum Tuesday, federal officials asked the Louisville community for their involvement in the Department of Justice investigation of the Louisville Metro Police Department and \Metro Government.

“We’re here to listen to everyone across the entire spectrum, our goal is to get insights that will help us get to the truth,” DOJ trial attorney Charles Hart said.

In the virtual meeting, officials said they wanted people’s candid experiences with LMPD, both positive and negative, to “paint a full picture” of the department.

“We want to learn from you about your experiences with the city and LMPD to help our investigators and attorneys identify particular incidents that should be reviewed,” DOJ trial attorney Mehveen Riaz said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky Jessica Malloy explained there were a variety of ways for the community to share their stories with the DOJ.

“We plan to do this early, often... We will be in person, we can do this on the phone, we can do this via Zoom, email, regular mail – it’s your terms,” she said.

To contact the DOJ toll-free call (844) 920-1460 or email Community.Louisville@usdoj.gov.

The meeting Wednesday was also used to clarify the scope of the investigation; officials said the probe would not look at police incidents going back decades, just the past several years.

The investigation will not focus on individuals but constitutional violations in police practices, including use of force, treatment of protesters, treatment during searches, how search warrants are obtained and executed as well as racial and disability discrimination.

“We want to see what’s the common thread across those violations, and more importantly, what are the root causes,” DOJ special counsel Paul Killebrew said. “If you think we’re not looking at something the right way, or avoiding some topic or not handling things well, we want to know.”

If violations are found, officials said they would not wait until the end of the investigation “to raise concerns.” To remedy violations, officials said they could sue LMPD and Metro Government and enforce a consent decree.

In similar investigations, officials claimed there had been a success when consent decrees were enforced. In New Orleans, police firearm discharges dropped from 18 to 3 from 2012 to 2018. In the same time period, canine deployments dropped from 229, with 13 bites to 115, with 0 bites.

The length of the investigation is still unclear; similar investigations into larger police departments in Chicago and Baltimore took longer than a year. Officials said Wednesday there would not be publicly available updates throughout the investigation in Louisville.

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