Hidden camera investigation exposes dangerous neighborhood

Published: Jun. 28, 2012 at 5:49 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2012 at 10:10 PM EDT
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A drug transaction captured by our undercover investigation.
A drug transaction captured by our undercover investigation.
Another drug transaction caught in progress near the Baxter Community Center.
Another drug transaction caught in progress near the Baxter Community Center.
Christopher 2X
Christopher 2X
Lavel White
Lavel White

LOUISVILLE, KY, (WAVE) – Three children caught in the crossfire of west end violence. A shooting spree literally caught on tape. There is a lot of blame being passed around lately about what's causing the problem.

According to our sources, the problem is simple, but it's hard to document. Residents don't want to talk about it publicly because they don't want to get shot. They say the problem is drug dealing in places like the Beecher Terrace public housing complex.

I spent two weeks undercover, parked in the Baxter Community Center parking lot, recording what's really going on with a hidden camera. No one knew I was there, not even police.

The first thing I noticed on the corner of 12th and Cedar was a lot of cash on display. That's because there were a lot of transactions going on there. Crack rocks, doled out, stuffed in pockets, followed by payment.

Every day they stood along the street in plain view, passing around and inspecting what appeared to be packaged drugs, wrapped in clear plastic baggies. Sellers counted cash, worked the phones, and inventoried their goods in tied-off plastic bags. Some stored their goods in their mouths in tightly wrapped packages in case cops came, and spit them out when it was time to serve up customers.

On May 23, four hours after I finished recording drug deals on camera, police responded to a homicide at Beecher Terrace. A man was shot to death at 12th and Cedar, the same corner where I was videotaping.

The next day, after police and reporters cleared the scene, I recorded more drug deals and a handgun being doled out with the drugs. The drug activity was going on next to the "Stop the Killing" signs posted by community activist Christopher 2X.

"The best way I can relate to this issue is, as far as what you documented is, I'm disappointed," 2X said after viewing our tape. "This isn't helpful. I feel as that what this report will reveal, hopefully, is an urgency of us to do our own internal cleansing. Because I don't believe law enforcement is a solution to get us out of this problematic situation."

Sometimes law enforcement passed every 15 minutes. Sometimes two hours passed between patrol cars. But the people flashed signs, motioning to buyers and sellers when police officers approached. The residents walked by drug and gun activity. No one called the police.

"They're numb to it," said Lavel White. "They just dismiss it because they don't want to be involved in it."

White lived in Beecher Terrace. He graduated from college, and recently was appointed by Mayor Greg Fischer to a group that is tackling the violence problem.

"I knew my days might be numbered," White said, "but you live in your environment. You're used to it. So it's like you live in a war zone or something, but you don't know the war's going on."

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.