Former LMPD assistant chief resigns from new job after criticism from Jewish community, Black leaders

While working for LMPD in 2020, Josh Judah was a visible spokesman supporting the department’s actions during the racial justice protests that year.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:30 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Recently hired to help improve security for the Jewish Community of Louisville, former Louisville Metro Police Department Assistant Chief Josh Judah resigned Thursday following a petition from the Jewish community and criticism from leaders in the Black community.

While working for LMPD in 2020, Judah was a visible spokesman supporting the department’s actions during the racial justice protests that year.

During that time, Judah ordered officers and national guardsmen to clear a crowd at 26th and Broadway. It led to a confrontation that resulted in the death of David McAtee.

In July 2022, Judah was hired to work for a nonprofit called Security Community Networks, with the intention of preventing hate crimes and targeted violence against the Jewish community.

The hire was announced during a town hall, which led to concern from members in the Jewish community.

A petition for Judah’s removal was created by Corey Buckman and Amy Shir, which was presented to JCL and days later. The petition mentioned concerns on Judah’s hire, stating his connection with the McAtee death violated “core values of Judaism and of the JCL.”

“We are also very concerned that the hiring and vetting process was not open and transparent to the full Jewish community and did not allow for public input before a final decision was made,” Buckman said in the petition. “The Jewish community should have had the opportunity to provide input on the priorities and guiding principles for this hire.”

Former protest leader Tim Findley tweeted Wednesday about the hiring.

“It’s hard to overstate how absolutely, stunningly, ridiculously loud this message is to Black people in Louisville,” Findley said Thursday before Judah’s retirement was announced. ”It shows that many people who talk a good game really do not care about equity. They don’t care about the health and well-being mentally or physically of the Black community.”

Louisville Urban League President Sadiqa Reynolds also shared his thoughts about the hire on Twitter.

“There is no way the Jewish Community of Louisville would have made this hire if Breonna Taylor and David McAtee were anything other than Black,” Reynolds said. ”I will never forgive our friends for piling onto our pain.”

The same day, the controversy made international headlines in the Times of Israel.

Jewish Community President Sara Klein Wagner released a statement Thursday about Judah’s hiring and resignation.

”We had hoped to continue to engage in constructive dialogue about the new role Josh began in support of safety and security for the Jewish community and beyond,” Wagner said. “Unfortunately, current circumstances make it impossible for Josh to meet this goal.”

Judah could not be reached for comment.

“This (Judah’s hiring) was not a racial justice decision,” State Representative and activist Attica Scott said. “This was a slap in the face to a community that has been hurting and crying out for justice for more than two years.”

Scott said she believes reconciliation with the Jewish community is possible.

“We can make that happen,” Scott said. “But it has to be together and there has to be some accountability, some transparency, and some responsibility in decision-making.”