Mayor calls for closer look at how LMPD assists ICE

Updated: Sep. 8, 2017 at 1:52 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Body camera video records as two Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers show up to a federal agent's scene.

In the clip you can see the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent chatting before they go in into an apartment building.

It's LMPD who then does the knocking.

"It's never really explained why they were knocking on the door," Kate Howard told WAVE 3 News. Howard is a reporter with our news partners at the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KCIR).

She found that the scenario captured on the body cam video was not uncommon.

"What I learned is that there's this pattern of ICE calling Louisville for help," she said.

Howard found that between January and June, ICE called LMPD dispatchers for back up on average once a week. The calls where from serving local warrants to making traffic stops and knocking on doors.

>> Read Kate Howard's story from KCIR

The story prompted a quick response from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

"The citizens of Louisville should not be thinking that LMPD is enforcing federal immigration Law," Fischer told us.

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad stated officers do not ask for immigration status, nor would they report someone to ICE.

But Mayor Fischer is concerned the immigrant community may think twice before calling police.

"The last thing we need to do is to have any confusion as to who's doing what," he explained.

Sgt. John Bradley, the LMPD Public Information Officer Commander told us they assist federal agents when they request it, and there is potential for danger, a local warrant to serve, or some crime is occurring.

The chief has now been tasked by Mayor Fischer to meet with ICE within the next two weeks.

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"We need to get the rules of the roles more clear here with ICE," Fischer said.

We did try to reach ICE for a response to our questions about when LMPD is asked to assist. She asked we send an email, but never replied.

According to Howard's reporting, the LMPD officers in the body cam video do not go inside the person's apartment.

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