Officer suspended for sending shirtless pic to arrestee promoted
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Less than one year after an officer is suspended for sending inappropriate pictures to a woman he’d arrested, he was promoted to sergeant, WAVE News Troubleshooters have learned.
“The next thing that is sent out by you is, well, ‘You have great legs and chest and everything,’ and then a ‘Delete that pic,’” the LMPD Professional Standards Unit investigator read to Officer Lawman Chibundi during his interview for the case.
That text message was sent by Officer Lawman Chibundi in November 2018, according to the file.
He was texting a woman he’d arrested for DUI. But that’s not all he sent.
“I sent a picture of myself,” Chibundi admitted during the questioning by PSU. “It was an inappropriate picture. It is a selfie, I’m shirtless.”
After sending that picture, Chibundi asked the woman to send him one of hers back. She never did. She would later ask her attorney to tell Chibundi not to contact her again.
In the file, there is also a letter from former LMPD Chief Yvette Gentry, who wrote the case had been found locked in a cabinet in the 8th Division, where Chibundi worked.
In June 2021, LMPD Chief Erika Shields suspended Chibundi for six days without pay for conduct unbecoming.
But less than a year later, Chibundi would be promoted to sergeant. The department posted pictures of his promotion on their Facebook page, posing with the same chief who had suspended him months prior.
Chibundi told investigators the texts were inappropriate, but not explicit.
The woman involved said she was shocked that the people who promoted him were aware of his previous behavior towards him, but decided to promote him anyway.
She added his promotion was condoning his behavior.
LMPD can skip someone on the promotion list three times without reason, but that did not happen in this case.
A response was provided on Friday by LMPD on the incident:
“An investigation into the actions of the officer began in January 2019 under a prior LMPD administration. The officer was subsequently disciplined and has been previously passed over for promotion. The officer later applied again for the rank of “sergeant”. After determining that he was eligible and met the requirements, he was promoted in February of 2022. Considering the totality of the circumstances, continuing to deny promotion based on an incident occurring more than three years prior runs contrary to the mission of providing opportunity to all officers for advancement.”
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