About louisville courier journal

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far louisville courier journal has created 23 blog entries.

Charges dismissed against arrested protester punched by LMPD officer on video

By |2021-07-27T12:23:50-04:00July 27th, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

A protester who was repeatedly punched in the face by a Louisville Metro Police officer during an April arrest caught on video saw his charges from the incident dismissed last week.Denorver "Dee" Garrett was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on April 18 as he was protesting with his signature cross near Jefferson Square Park, the epicenter of the justice for Breonna Taylor movement in downtown Louisville, that Sunday afternoon.Court records show both counts against Garrett were dismissed July 21.A representative of County Attorney Mike O'Connell's office did not immediately return a request for comment about the reason for dismissal.But Garrett's attorney says he knows why."They knew it was an unwinnable case," David Mour said Tuesday morning. "There's not even any probable cause to believe this man did anything (illegal). If anything, he's a victim of a crime. He was assaulted by these police officers, and then to make matters worse, he was arrested and falsely charged with crimes in order to cover up their crimes."In a video clip of the arrest, an officer is seen attempting to handcuff Garrett before he and another officer forced him to the ground. The initial officer then punched Garrett in the face four times, breaking his glasses.According to the arrest citation, Garrett "was causing a disturbance" in the middle of the street for about 30 minutes before he was arrested and he "resisted the officers' movements to put his hands together close enough to put handcuffs on. He was given loud verbal commands to stop resisting … which he did not follow."Mour, who was present during the arrest, said officers used what he calls the "push me, pull me" maneuver in which an officer standing on each side rocks the individual they are arresting back and forth and then tells them to stop resisting."They've done it hundreds of times in the protest movement," Mour said. "Most of the resisting arrest charges have been dismissed because they're not resisting arrest."A July analysis by The Courier Journal of more than 1,000 protest-related arrests from May 2020 through May 2021 found nearly 600 cases had been dismissed.Defendants pleaded guilty or were convicted in about 100 cases, with many sentenced to volunteer work. Hundreds more cases remain pending.Mour likened the actions of the officers involved in Garrett's beating and arrest to that of Cory Evans, the ex-LMPD officer federally charged with striking a kneeling protester in the back of the head. Evans is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 4."These guys had Dee restrained on the ground and were mercilessly punching him in the face," Mour said. "One is no worse than the other, so if Cory Evans deserves it, so do these guys."Mour is also representing Garrett in a civil suit against the LMPD officer they believe punched Garrett. LMPD has not publicly named the officers involved.The suit, filed in April, accuses Officer Aaron Ambers of civil battery, unlawful imprisonment and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.Mour now plans to add Officer Marc Christiansen, who was listed on Garrett's arrest citation, and the other officers on scene who didn't intervene, and will also amend the complaint to allege abuse of process, malicious prosecution and civil conspiracy."There were two sergeants standing there, knowing what was going on, watching them do it," Mour said, "watching them violate someone's constitutional, civil and human rights, violate Kentucky law, violate the Constitution. They stood there and did nothing. These people should never be police officers."The video of Garrett's arrest spread online quickly, prompting LMPD Chief Erika Shields to release a statement saying it "raises serious questions and is not consistent with LMPD training."Shields opened an internal investigation into the officer's conduct as well as the on-scene supervisor. LMPD did not immediately respond to Courier Journal questions about the investigation's status Tuesday morning.Metro Councilman Jecorey Arthur urged Shields and Mayor Greg Fischer to fire all of the officers involved in Garrett's arrest, saying they violated the city's use-of-force policy.Reach Tessa Duvall at tduvall@courier-journal.com and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall.

Jail where Ta'Neasha Chappell was held before dying was squalid and racist, lawyers say

By |2021-07-23T11:26:29-04:00July 23rd, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

The Indiana jail where Louisville woman Ta'Neasha Chappell was held before her death had conditions tantamount to unconstitutional "cruel and unusual punishment," an attorney for the family alleged during a news conference Thursday evening."It was [...]

Jail where Ta'Naesha Chappell was held before dying was squalid and racist, lawyers say

By |2021-07-22T21:27:27-04:00July 22nd, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

The Indiana jail where Louisville woman Ta'Naesha Chappell was held before her death had conditions tantamount to unconstitutional "cruel and unusual punishment," an attorney for the family alleged during a news conference Thursday evening."It was so bad that Ta'Naesha called and her family and let them know, 'Please get me out of here. If I can't get out, I'm going to die here,'" local attorney Lonita Baker said. "Unfortunately, her greatest fear happened."She went in a young, 23-year-old mother, healthy, and she should have returned to her family that same way."Related: Ta'Neasha Chappell's family hires Breonna Taylor's legal team after her Indiana jail deathChappell was being held in the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown, Indiana, 50 miles north of Louisville, on charges stemming from an alleged May 26 theft and high-speed chase. She was one of the few Black women in the jail population, Baker said.On July 16, she was taken to Schneck Memorial Hospital in nearby Seymour, where  she died, according to Indiana State Police, which is investigating the death.Besides Baker, Chappell's family has hired prominent lawyers Sam Aguiar and Florida-based Ben Crump to help get answers about what happened to her. The trio previously secured a $12 million settlement last year from the city of Louisville for the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March 2020.Only Baker was at the press conference.She said Chappell, who had a 10-year-old daughter, began to get sick on July 15, when she started vomiting and spiked a fever that was severe enough for jail staff to check her temperature every 15 minutes. But EMS was not called until nearly 24 hours later when staff found Chappell unresponsive, the lawyer said.Jail staff told Chappell's family they believe her death was "something chemical," but the family has been told little else, Baker said."But that doesn't explain the bruises on her face," Baker said. "It doesn't explain the frantic calls to her family."The Jackson County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail, has previously declined to comment on the case. A woman who answered the phone at the Jackson County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday morning said all questions were being directed to the Indiana State Police.  The state police confirmed an autopsy has been performed and declined Tuesday to offer any additional information, saying the results will take "several days or longer."Gun violence:Here's how Louisville police are responding after teens shot hours apart in same blockChappell did not have any preexisting conditions, according to her sister, Ronesha Murrell.Baker said she does not have any indication as to Chappell's cause of death, but there will be an independent medical exam conducted.Murrell said her sister was jumped inside the jail and had been cut on her neck, but she wasn't separated from others after that incident.In a Facebook post shared shortly before the press conference, Aguiar alleged numerous serious issues at the Jackson County Jail. Many of the claims involve a lack of hygiene and medical care, including that those in the jail have been "forced to live in sewage multiple times. Black mold too."The post says the jail doesn't have "any medical personnel available most of the time.""Deprived of basic medical needs. Guards telling them they’re faking or making them wait over a week to even see a nurse," it reads. "See a nurse who doesn’t give them their medications that are critical for health. And when inmates say something, nurse locks them down."Aguiar also alleged the jail has mishandled the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."This jail has 240 inmates coming and going. But claims to have had zero inmates with COVID. Ever. Only staff," the Facebook post reads. "Well that’s what happens when you ignore people who can’t breath(e), have uncontrollable fevers and are neglected. Oh, and Jackson County, as of late last year, had the highest COVID positivity rate in all of Indiana."Zero inmates with COVID though at all since the pandemic started? That’s deliberate indifference."COVID in Kentucky:95% of cases since March were in unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, Beshear saysOther allegations listed in the post included prisoners being "deprived of showers" and "constantly attacked with guards doing nearly nothing." It said people are "constantly called the N word if one of the few Black female inmates" and "have to deal with guards who are constantly showing favoritism to certain female inmates who will flirt back with them."Aguiar said those who complain "have many of their grievances crumbled and thrown in trash by guards." He also alleged people held in the jail are "deprived of food and water if they try to speak out about the inhumane conditions.""Ta’Neasha didn’t have a chance," the post concludes. "Release the video. Explain why she was left in her cell for 24 hours while vomiting and fighting a spiking fever. Explain the facial injuries. What happened to Ta’Neasha Chappell?"Reach Tessa Duvall at tduvall@courier-journal.com and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall

Police union lawsuit: Judge tosses case seeking to stop council from approving contracts

By |2021-07-22T16:24:13-04:00July 22nd, 2021|David McAtee|

A Jefferson County judge on Wednesday tossed out a lawsuit seeking to remove Louisville Metro Council from the process of approving police union contracts.The River City Fraternal Order of Police in November filed suit against Metro Government over whether a state law that says the mayor's signature binds a collective bargaining agreement invalidates a local ordinance requiring Metro Council approval.Judge Brian Edwards sided with Metro Government, which argued that because the contract had already been approved by the mayor and Metro Council when the suit was filed, there's no controversy for the court to decide.More: County attorney issues opinion on union contract approvalThe court will not "seek advisory answers to abstract questions," Edwards wrote in the opinion.Meanwhile, the police union and the city continue to wrangle over a new contract. Eight months ago, they agreed to a now-expired contract that was preceded by years of negotiating.Despite the decision on the lawsuit, union officials are optimistic that they'll reach new agreements before the year is over.Since January, leaders of the FOP have been at the table with the mayor's negotiators hoping to renew two employment contracts: one for police officers and sergeants, which expired June 30; and another for lieutenants and captains, which expired on June 30, 2018.The contracts will determine the cost and scope of LMPD police salaries and benefits, as well as the size of the force, at a time when the controversial "defund the police" narrative — the idea that money spent on police officers could and should be spent on other social services — is dominating budget conversations across the country.Major issues of contention include pay raises anda proposal by the union to add at least 250 more officers to a quickly dwindling force, spokesman David Mutchler told The Courier Journal.Louisville Metro's $1.04B budget passes:Who won, who lost, who stayed evenThe negotiations haven't dragged on as long as they have in the past, said Ryan Nichols, president of the FOP. "We’ve accomplished a lot since we started in January," he said. "We addressed the economic side of things sooner rather than later."Given the ground rules, neither party can comment on specifics but the mayor's spokeswoman, Jean Porter, said the process "is moving forward well." "We're hopeful this ruling puts the matter to rest so we can focus on finalizing the contract so it can be presented to Metro Council for its approval," Porter told The Courier Journal.Ariana Levinson, a labor law professor at the University of Louisville Brandies School of Law who has studied the contract with her students, said it's common sense to need Metro Council approval for anything budget-related, especially a costly employment contract.She said a ruling in the FOP's favor would further erode transparency. Though no state law prohibits open negotiations, neither the mayor nor the FOP said they would allow anyone to observe."They don’t report to the public what’s happening," Levinson said. "They don’t provide education — a lot of people don’t understand how important this contract is and that this contract governs the workplace rules. LMPD treats it the same way they treat a specific personnel issue."Concerns about the most recent contract include a "no layoffs" clause, as well as a provision that doesn't allow the unpaid suspension of officers unless "they basically commit the most heinous crime under the sun," she said.For the FOP, one major issue is understaffing. David McAtee: Police action marred by 'poor communication,' confusion and mistakesThe maximum number of officers allowed is 1,300, which was designated when city and county governments merged in 2003. Mutchler said the force is at about 1,040, and could be under 1,000 by the end of August."There’s a lot of things that, as the city grows, they want the police to be involved in, and that just takes a lot of people," Mutchler said. "We’ve never added anything to the ranks. We were hard-pressed to keep up with everything as it was, but now that we’re bleeding off it makes things extremely difficult.”During last year's social justice protests, officers said they were overworked."They worked basically 12-hour days on the riot line, and we had to hold some officers back to respond to calls for service when we could," he said. "There was a period of time when there was no way officers were going to have time off."Mutchler hopes the process moves faster than in the past given the public cry for police accountability. They started negotiations on time this year "out of necessity," he said.While it would be nice to have a judge rule in their favor prior to the ratification of another contract, he said, he'd prefer having a contract "tomorrow.""We need a collective bargaining agreement so the city and offices understand what our obligations are in the future," he said. This story has been updated.Kala Kachmar is an investigative reporter. Reach her at 502-582-4469; kkachmar@courierjournal.com or @NewsQuip on Twitter. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/subscribe.

VIDEO: Police arrest protesters on Bardstown Road

By |2021-07-22T13:24:11-04:00July 22nd, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

VIDEO: Police arrest protesters on Bardstown RoadNews Sports Life Opinion USA TODAY Obituaries E-Edition Legals Louisville Metro Police arrest Breonna Taylor protesters on Bardstown Road on Sept. 23, 2020.Bailey Loosemore Bailey Loosemore, Louisville Courier JournalWatch Next  © 2021 www.courier-journal.com. All rights reserved.

Man sues LMPD, alleging he was knocked from scooter on day of Breonna Taylor decision

By |2021-07-22T07:07:46-04:00July 22nd, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

A Louisville man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging he was knocked off his scooter and assaulted by police officers after delivering food to people protesting the Breonna Taylor grand jury decision in September.In a complaint filed Wednesday in the Western District of Kentucky, Aron Conaway says he was trying to leave after Louisville Metro Police told the crowd to disperse when he was knocked from his scooter. He alleges that he was zip-tied by police and had "chemical agents" sprayed in his face. The complaint names multiple defendants: Louisville Metro Government, Mayor Greg Fischer, former interim LMPD Chief Robert Schroeder, LMPD Assistant Chief Lavita Chavous, an LMPD officer identified in the filing as "J. Berg"  and "unknown supervisors/officers" from LMPD. Claims made in a lawsuit represent only one side of a case. Spokespersons for LMPD and Mayor Greg Fischer did not immediately return Courier Journal requests for comment on Wednesday. The filing says Conaway was in the Highlands to distribute food to protesters on Sept. 23, 2020 — the day a grand jury did not indict three LMPD officers for the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, indicting only on on charges related to bullets going to a neighboring apartment.Read more:Attica Scott sues Louisville police officers over arrest at Breonna Taylor protestConaway himself was not protesting, the filing claims, and tried to leave on his scooter when officers arrived and ordered the crowd to disperse."As he was immediately attempting to leave, (Conaway's) scooter was knocked over and damaged by an unknown LMPD officer who then jumped on and assaulted (Conaway)," the lawsuit claims. "As (Conaway) was being assaulted by an unknown LMPD officer, he was further assaulted by other unknown LMPD officers who joined in the altercation."The lawsuit also says officers zip-tied Conaway's wrists, sprayed "chemical agents" in his face and told him he was "under arrest and charged with a felony.""Upon informing the Defendants he was severely hurt and needing to go to an emergency room, (Conaway) was told by Defendants he was free to leave with a police citation for a felony which was a clear intentional attempt to deny him their immediate duty in regard to his health and safety," the filing states.Conaway then left the scene to get medical attention, the lawsuit says. His citation was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, then dismissed in April, it adds.Since the incident, Conaway has experienced "nightmares and sleeplessness due to his experiences" and fears retaliation by the defendants, the lawsuit claims. You may like:Why most protesters arrested by Louisville police will never be convicted of a crimeThe filing also alleges a "failure to train, audit, supervise and discipline" by city leaders as well as assault, battery, false arrest, intentional inflictions of emotional distress and conspiracy to violate the Constitution.In addition, it claims Conaway's Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated, which pertain to unreasonable search and seizure and equal protection under the law.The lawsuit requests a jury trial and seeks unspecified compensation.Reach reporter Mary Ramsey at mramsey@gannett.com, and follow her on Twitter @mcolleen1996. Support strong local journalism in our community by subscribing to The Courier Journal today.

Louisville police union hopes for a new contract before year's end even as it sues city

By |2021-07-22T07:07:47-04:00July 22nd, 2021|David McAtee|

Eight months have passed since the city and the Louisville Metro Police officers' union agreed to a contract — now expired — that was preceded by years of negotiating.But union officials are now optimistic that they'll reach new agreements before the year is over.Since January, leaders of the River City Fraternal Order of Police have been at the table with Metro Government hoping to renew two employment contracts: one for police officers and sergeants, which expired June 30; and another for lieutenants and captains, which expired on June 30, 2018.The contracts will determine the cost and scope of LMPD police salaries and benefits, as well as the size of the force, at a time when the controversial "defund the police" narrative — the idea that money spent on police officers could and should be spent on other social services — is dominating budget conversations across the country.Major issues of contention include pay raises anda proposal by the union to add at least 250 more officers to a quickly dwindling force, spokesman David Mutchler told The Courier Journal.Louisville Metro's $1.04B budget passes:Who won, who lost, who stayed evenThe negotiations haven't dragged on as long as they have in the past, said Ryan Nichols, president of the FOP. "We’ve accomplished a lot since we started in January," he said. "We addressed the economic side of things sooner rather than later."But even as they negotiate, the FOP is gearing up for an Aug. 9 hearing in a lawsuit against the city that seeks to cut Metro Council from the contract approval process. The November 2020 lawsuit stems from a dispute about language in a state law that says the mayor's signature is the "exclusive" method by which such an agreement can be made.Mutchler says the state law "is clear" and that Metro Council doesn't belong in the process, but the Jefferson County Attorney's Office argues Metro Council should be involved because it makes all budget decisions.Ariana Levinson, a labor law professor at the University of Louisville Brandies School of Law who has studied the contract with her students, said it's common sense to need Metro Council approval for anything budget-related, especially a costly employment contract.She said a ruling in the FOP's favor would further erode transparency. Though no state law prohibits open negotiations, neither the mayor nor the FOP said they would allow anyone to observe."They don’t report to the public what’s happening," Levinson said. "They don’t provide education — a lot of people don’t understand how important this contract is and that this contract governs the workplace rules. LMPD treats it the same way they treat a specific personnel issue."Concerns about the most recent contract include a "no layoffs" clause, as well as a provision that doesn't allow the unpaid suspension of officers unless "they basically commit the most heinous crime under the sun," she said.For the FOP, one major issue is understaffing. David McAtee: Police action marred by 'poor communication,' confusion and mistakesThe maximum number of officers allowed is 1,300, which was designated when city and county governments merged in 2003. Mutchler said the force is at about 1,040, and could be under 1,000 by the end of August."There’s a lot of things that, as the city grows, they want the police to be involved in, and that just takes a lot of people," Mutchler said. "We’ve never added anything to the ranks. We were hard-pressed to keep up with everything as it was, but now that we’re bleeding off it makes things extremely difficult.”During last year's social justice protests, officers were overworked."They worked basically 12-hour days on the riot line, and we had to hold some officers back to respond to calls for service when we could," he said. "There was a period of time when there was no way officers were going to have time off."Mutchler hopes the process moves faster than in the past given the public cry for police accountability. They started negotiations on time this year "out of necessity," he said.While it would be nice to have a judge rule in their favor prior to the ratification of another contract, he said, he'd prefer having a contract "tomorrow.""We need a collective bargaining agreement so the city and offices understand what our obligations are in the future," he said. Kala Kachmar is an investigative reporter. Reach her at 502-582-4469; kkachmar@courierjournal.com or @NewsQuip on Twitter. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/subscribe.

Kentucky Commission on Human Rights director wants office to be what it was created for

By |2021-07-22T07:07:50-04:00July 22nd, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

Terrance Sullivan started his job leading the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in June 2020 — a remarkably historic and challenging time, on several levels.Besides the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented him from meeting his new staff, the city around him was in turmoil — as streets were filled daily with protesters demanding justice for Breonna Taylor and clashing with police in riot gear.The rising call for racial justice — along with the also vocal backlash to this movement — put more pressure on the agency, whose resources and staff responsible for investigating discrimination complaints had been decimated by many years of state budget cuts."In the past few years, people have felt more empowered to express hate," Sullivan said. "And so we've needed to do more, even though we're operating with less."In the face of dwindling resources and rising needs for its work, Sullivan told The Courier Journal he's committed to revamping the commission's approach so it can fulfill its intended mission."I want this office to be what it was supposed to be when it was created," Sullivan said.The passage of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act in 1966 gave teeth to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Under the act, the agency could investigate and enforce legal prohibitions against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit transactions on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, national origin and age.More:Kentuckians have a special connection with Martin Luther King Jr.A graduate of the University of Louisville and its Brandeis School of Law, the 34-year-old Sullivan worked over the next decade at Louisville Metro Council, the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky Youth Advocates and an education equity group before taking on the executive director position with the commission.Sullivan said a major reason he took on the new role goes back to the discrimination he faced growing up in Madisonville, where he was "a poor Black kid in a small white town" in Western Kentucky."There were times when we didn't have anything or anywhere to go, and I knew that race played a part in that," Sullivan said. "There would be landlords who would specifically say they didn't want to rent to a black family. They didn't want 'those people' in one of their properties, or if you were in one, they would just make up reasons to kick you out."Sullivan said the commission was a space where he could contribute to the solution and help people who grew up in similar circumstances, "not just for their race, but people who are being targeted for being who they are and existing how they exist.""I think life is full of challenges, and who you are shouldn't add to (them)," Sullivan said. "No one should ever have to deal with hate against who they were created as."Challenges were aplenty for Sullivan when he began his new role a little more than a year ago, including increasing the visibility of an office many don't know exists.More:'It's not something that you just finish': Activists mark year of Breonna Taylor protestsWhile the commission used to have 15-20 investigators to respond to discrimination complaints across the state, the office has now been forced to cut down to four, along with just one staff attorney. Most rooms in its downtown office now sit empty.After years of state budget cuts and growing case backlogs, Sullivan said the office had a glimmer of hope when Gov. Andy Beshear proposed an increase this year that would fund three new hires, only to see the Kentucky General Assembly strip out that funding in the budget it passed."It's challenging that our lights basically stay on because of our federal partnerships with (Housing and Urban Development) and the (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), not from our General Fund appropriations," Sullivan said.While grateful for the racial justice movement sparked by the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor that forced long overdue and uncomfortable conversations, Sullivan is concerned such discussions are "dying down" — while backlash and incidents of hate and discrimination keep going up."I get so many unsolicited mailings from people, a lot of death threats," Sullivan said. "People reminding me that they know where my office is and where my house is, and that, by having this organization, I'm the racist one."Along with growing voices who "stoke fear" with distorted criticisms of equity mislabeled as "critical race theory," he also lamented that human rights is increasingly painted by some as "a Democrat issue," noting "discrimination is not a partisan thing.""There are so many people who don't think that we need to exist," Sullivan said. "I had a conversation with a state official who told me that racism was over and asked if I really thought this office needed to be here."More:'Our moment is now': How the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is combating hateBesides hateful calls, Sullivan said the most common calls the commission receives are those upset about how long their discrimination complaint is taking to investigate, but he is taking steps to overcome the staffing challenge.After revamping their internal processes and procedures, Sullivan said the average age of their pending discrimination cases decreased from 393 days to 304 days — but a solution on funding is still needed to get to an acceptable level.Though the Beshear administration announced a $1.1 billion budget surplus for the recently ended fiscal year, Sullivan said the commission can't just wait around for Frankfort to act anymore. Instead, Sullivan is developing a "pragmatic" strategy for potential alternative funding, hoping to find a legal path for the agency to do so in the next six months."Being able to do this is something that was an honor, humbling, and, quite frankly, it's a little scary and frustrating at the same time," Sullivan said. "I still feel like there's so much more that needs to be done."Reach reporter Joe Sonka at jsonka@courierjournal.com and follow him on Twitter at @joesonka. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today at the top of this page.

Ta'Neasha Chappell's family hires Breonna Taylor's legal team after her Indiana jail death

By |2021-07-21T11:39:02-04:00July 21st, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

The family of Ta'Neasha Chappell, a Louisville woman who died after more than a month in an Indiana jail, has hired a prominent legal team to help it get answers about what happened to her."Our team has been given the privilege of seeking truth and justice for the family of Ta'Neasha Chappell," Louisville attorney Sam Aguiar wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. "More to come ASAP."Aguiar said in his post that fellow Louisville lawyer Lonita Baker and high-profile Florida-based attorney Ben Crump have been hired as well. Together, they secured a $12 million settlement last year from the city of Louisville for the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March 2020.Chappell was being held in the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown, Indiana, on charges stemming from an alleged theft and high-speed chase when she was taken to Schneck Memorial Hospital in nearby Seymour on Friday. Brownstown is about 50 miles north of downtown Louisville.The 23-year-old, who had a 10-year-old daughter, died later the same day at the hospital, according to Indiana State Police, which is investigating the death. Ronesha Murrell, Chappell's sister, told The Courier Journal on Tuesday night that the family has spoken to state police officials but has been given "very little details.""We're just taking it day by day," she said of how the family is coping. "We want justice."Chappell had told her family she was having problems with other people being held in the jail and staff and that she feared for her life, Murrell said, including after an incident when Chappell said a noose was left in her bed. The family previously reached out to the jail but did not receive a response, Murrell said.A woman who answered the phone at the Jackson County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday morning said all questions were being directed to the state police. Read more:Seen as a long overdue change, Louisville plans to eliminate fees on phone calls from jailMurrell said her family was informed after 8:30 p.m. Friday of Chappell's death and were told that she died about 6 p.m. She said the family was told by law enforcement that Chappell informed jail staff she was feeling ill on Thursday and was vomiting and feverish.They want to know why Chappell wasn't taken to a hospital earlier, she said."How do you not seek medical attention right then and there?" she asked.'Justice and answers'A statement Sunday from state police said an ambulance was called for Chappell shortly before her death Friday and that the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department reached out to state police Saturday to request an investigation. ISP's death investigation is ongoing, they said Sunday, and an autopsy has been performed. State police on Tuesday declined to offer additional information."We don't anticipate any further statements until investigators receive the autopsy and toxicology results, which typically takes several days or longer," a state police spokesman said.Disciplined cops vs. the chief:Who the Louisville police merit board usually sides withChappell did not have any preexisting conditions, according to her sister.And the last time Murrell spoke with her younger sister, about two weeks before her death, she said she was doing better in her situation."She was laughing, and she asked about my son," Murrell said. "She told us that she loved us and would call back."Chappell had a "bubbly" personality and loved to be around people, especially her young daughter, according to her sister."She was the life of the party," Murrell said. "She may do something that gets on your nerves or you may get into a disagreement, but then she's back to loving you like it never happened."Moving forward, she said the family will work to "take action" to get "justice and answers.""We're going to keep going and keep talking and keep pressing the issue."Why was Ta'Neasha Chappell in jail?Indiana court records show Chappell had been held in jail since May 26 on $4,000 cash bond for multiple felony and misdemeanor charges in Jackson County, including resisting law enforcement, theft, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving causing bodily injury.The most serious charge, escaping from law enforcement with bodily injury, is a level 4 felony and can carry between two and 12 years in prison under Indiana law.Besides the Jackson County case, she also faced a misdemeanor charge in adjacent Bartholomew County stemming from the same May 26 incident in which she was accused of stealing from an outlet mall and leading police on a high-speed chase through multiple counties.According to a probable cause affidavit from Edinburgh Police Deputy Chief Hector Mercado, Chappell was seen running out of a Polo Ralph Lauren store "with a large pile of clothing" before getting into a white Chevy Impala with a Kentucky plate and driving off.The officer notified ISP, which located Chappell's car on I-65 a few minutes later around the 54-mile marker. Trooper Korry Clark pulled Chappell over and ordered her to hand over the car keys, according to an affidavit. When she refused, Clark tried to remove her from the vehicle, but Chappell drove away, injuring Clark's arm.Clark and another officer pursued Chappell, at times reaching over 100 mph, according to Clark's affidavit. Officers attempted to use stop sticks to get Chappell to stop, and one trooper injured his finger in the process.Chappell hit a road sign near the 7-mile marker in Sellersburg and then ran on foot toward an off ramp where police were able to tase and handcuff her, Clark wrote. Chappell had blood drawn and was examined for back pain at Schneck hospital before being taken to the Jackson County Jail.More than $3,200 in stolen merchandise was recovered from Chappell's car, police wrote, and Chappell was allegedly part of a larger group stealing from Polo.Court records show Chappell's attorney filed a request in June to reduce her bond, but a judge denied the motion July 8.Prosecutors in both counties have filed motions to dismiss the cases in light of Chappell's death.Reach Tessa Duvall at tduvall@courier-journal.com and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall.

Go to Top