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West End barbecue stand owner David McAtee’s family settles wrongful death lawsuit

By |2023-01-30T17:26:42-05:00January 30th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

More than two and a half years after Louisville barbecue stand owner David McAtee was killed by law enforcement officers during the first nights of the 2020 protests, a wrongful death lawsuit his family filed in the aftermath of the shooting has been settled.Steve Romines, an attorney for McAtee's family, told The Courier Journal on Monday that the case had been settled for $725,000. The two sides came to an agreement last week, he said."The family wanted the case over," the attorney said. "… They had no desire to litigate the case for another several years."The lawsuit was initially filed the lawsuit against Louisville Metro Police, the Kentucky National Guard and two LMPD officers in September 2020 on behalf of Odessa Riley, McAtee's mother, and Machelle McAtee, his niece. The plaintiffs said overuse of force and mistakes made by officers and National Guard members on the scene the night of the shooting were in violation of several department policies and ultimately led to McAtee's death.Background:Minute by minute: What happened the night David McAtee was killedFor Courier Journal subscribers:Rapid bus routes & light rail: Will TARC's plans for the future mean a new Louisville tax?McAtee was killed in the early morning hours of June 1, 2020, after protests over the police killing of Breonna Taylor had taken place throughout the day around Louisville. LMPD officers and soldiers with the National Guard, which had been dispatched in the city that day on orders from Gov. Andy Beshear, were sent to the site to break up a small crowd that had gathered after curfew at Dino's Food Mart, a business at Broadway and 26th Street where McAtee operated a small barbecue stand.Katie Crews, an LMPD officer at the time, fired several pepper balls at a group of people in the crowd, including Machelle McAtee, who was hit. David McAtee fired back with a 9 mm handgun and was subsequently shot and killed, with two LMPD officers and two National Guard members firing at him. Then-LMPD Chief Steve Conrad was fired following the shooting after it was determined none of the officers were wearing body cameras at the time.Crews was later charged with unreasonable force for her role in the shooting and was fired in February 2022 after being placed on administrative leave immediately after the shooting. She was sentenced to two years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine on Monday by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Beaton and has also agreed to surrender her law enforcement certifications.More headlines:This Kentucky restaurant ranks on Yelp's list of top 100 eateries for 2023Reach Lucas Aulbach at laulbach@courier-journal.com.

Ex-Louisville Metro Police officer gets probation in case tied to David McAtee’s death

By |2023-01-30T15:35:24-05:00January 30th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

Former Louisville Metro Police Officer Katie Crews, charged with using unreasonable force in the run-up to West End barbecue chef David McAtee’s 2020 death, was spared prison time and given probation Monday during a sentencing hearing in federal court. U.S. District Judge Benjamin Beaton sentenced her to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service and gave her a $500,000 fine. Crews, 30, was indicted last year with deprivation of rights under color of law after a grand jury found she “willfully deprived” McAtee’s niece, Machelle McAtee, of her constitutional right "to be free from an unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer."   As part of a plea deal, Crews was later charged in a superseding indictment with a misdemeanor instead of a felony, facing up to a year in prison instead of 10 years. Crews, who spent a decade in the National Guard, also agreed to surrender her law enforcement certifications and not seek any future employment in law enforcement.Federal prosecutors recommended one year of probation as part of the deal for Crews, who is now working as an explosive canine handler for a private security company and "mostly screening air cargo" for dangerous items, according to court documents. Her attorney, Steve Schroering, agreed with the probation recommendation, noting in court filings that Crews had no prior criminal history and has a wife along with a "large, loving and supportive family."Louisville police officers in court:These are the ex-LMPD officers charged by feds with unlawful forceIn a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors also recommended Crews serve 100 hours of community service.The federal indictment said that on June 1, 2020, Crews “fired a pepperball at M.M., striking M.M., while M.M. was standing on private property and not posing a threat to (Crews) or others.” The nonlethal pepperball projectile caused “bodily harm” to Machelle McAtee, per the indictment. Crews, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was among the LMPD officers and Kentucky National Guard members who responded shortly after midnight on June 1, 2020, to a crowd that had gathered near David “YaYa” McAtee’s barbecue stand at 26th Street and West Broadway after a 9 p.m. curfew that then-Mayor Greg Fischer had put in place amid protests over Breonna Taylor's killing by police.   The night would end with the shooting of David McAtee, 53, a beloved cook who would offer food to LMPD officers while they were on their beats.  Crews, who joined LMPD in 2018, was on paid administrative leave after the shooting until LMPD fired her in February 2022 following internal investigations into her actions and also into a Facebook post published days before McAtee’s death in which she celebrated a protester getting hit by pepper balls. A lawsuit later filed on behalf of David McAtee’s mother and niece described YaYa’s BBQ that summer as a safe haven, blocks away from downtown protests and unrest.  David McAtee's death:Police action marred by 'poor communication,' confusion and mistakesMachelle McAtee previously told The Courier Journal she was standing in the doorway of her uncle's shop just after midnight when she was hit at close range with at least three projectiles before her uncle pulled her inside.  Video from a neighboring business shows Crews standing at the fence line shooting projectiles at McAtee's door, even though no one was outside.  Surveillance footage shows that after pulling his niece inside from the doorway, David McAtee leaned out the door, fired his handgun twice above his shoulder and was almost immediately hit by return fire.  An investigation determined a bullet from a Kentucky National Guard member killed him instantly, though another National Guard member and two LMPD officers, Crews and Officer Austin Allen, also fired their weapons.  In May 2021, Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas Wine announced he would not prosecute the two National Guard members or LMPD officers for firing weapons that night.  "The repercussions from her actions took an extensive toll on Ms. Crews," Schroering, her attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum ahead of Monday's hearing. "She permanently lost her career. Her reputation was destroyed as the incident and her subsequent charges were covered extensively by the local and national media for months."Along with Crews, several other now-former LMPD officers have faced federal charges since 2020 that relate to the unlawful use of force against civilians. The U.S. Department of Justice has also been conducting a "pattern-or-practice" investigation into LMPD over potential abuses and constitutional violations.In addition, the DOJ announced indictments in August 2022 against four LMPD personnel accused of lying on the drug-related search warrant or recklessly firing bullets into a neighboring apartment during the raid at Taylor’s South End apartment on March 13, 2020.  Kala Kachmar contributed to this story. Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com 

‘The work has never stopped’: Tyre Nichols’ death prompts more reform calls in Louisville

By |2023-01-30T05:29:00-05:00January 30th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

Citizens around Louisville hosted marches and peaceful protests Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the release of body cam footage from the altercation that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a Black man killed by the Memphis Police Department during a traffic stop earlier this month.Several dozen people marched from the corner of Baxter Avenue and Broadway to Mid-City Mall on Bardstown Road and more gathered at Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville to call for police reform and for members of the community to start looking out for each other in the wake of Nichols' death.Who was Tyre Nichols?:Video shows police kicking, pepper spraying, beating Tyre Nichols after traffic stopAmber Brown, who organized the Baxter Avenue march, led the chant "no justice, no peace," echoing protests held during 2020 after the murder of Breonna Taylor. Protestors took up an entire lane of traffic on the busy street, carrying signs that read "Tyre Nichols: From Louisville to Memphis to the world" and "Louisville stands with Memphis" as they marched."Another Black man has been killed by police ... we have been out here fighting for justice for so long," Brown said. "And yet, once again, it's slapped in our face that no one cares."The body cam footage released Friday shows officers shouting expletives while using pepper spray and a Taser on Nichols during the Jan. 7 traffic stop, who at times called out for his mother. Police struck Nichols in the face, torso and head at least 13 times while being physically restrained by other officers.The beating, which has been widely condemned by other members of the law enforcement community, left Nichols hospitalized. He died three days later.Five Black officers involved in the beating have since been fired from the department and charged with several crimes connected to the death, including second-degree murder, according to USA TODAY reports.Brown said even though she hadn't watched the video of Nichols' murder, it was still important to march in the streets."We have to continue to make sure that people know that we're not going to leave. We haven't stopped," she said. "Throughout all of this, the work has never stopped."'We're tired'At the gathering in Jefferson Square Park, many of those who took the stage said it was time for widespread reform not just in Memphis, but in other cities, including Louisville.Dennisha Rivers, founder of Vision of Life Outreach Ministries, said she organized Sunday's vigil because she felt it was time to bring the community together to do something different to curb violence."It's time to restore, rebuild and reeducate, because apparently, we're doing something wrong and our system is doing something wrong," she said.Jamie McAtee, the brother of David McAtee, who was killed by law enforcement officers at his West End restaurant in 2020, said the video was difficult to watch, but is proof more work needs to be done."Here we are three years later, after ... so much has happened, we're tired," he said. "We're tired of being out here on the streets and trying to get some change. We're tired of saying 'we want peace' ... how long do we have to keep having peaceful protests to be heard?"Rivers said she's been in touch with members of Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg's administration who have been supportive of efforts to bring the community together to talk."They are very supportive and encouraging of what I did because we're just trying to make a difference," she said.Ray Barker, a retired Louisville Metro Police officer, said while he applauds Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis for taking immediate action regarding the officers, he said it will take more compassion among neighbors to start making a difference."(Speaking) as a Black person that still lives in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Louisville, please take this opportunity to evaluate our community," he said. "Stop living in fear. ... Step out on faith and open the door to see what's going on in your community."Some residents call for returning power to communitiesOther marchers, like Maxwell Mitchell, said one solution to overcoming police violence is putting "the power in community." By diverting money from police institutions, he said, and putting money toward people working on the ground, it can make changes in communities.Mitchell said communities can be just as powerful as institutions, like the police, because of trust."I know the people in my community. I'm friends with them. I'm neighbors with them. We say hi to each other and whatnot," he said. "If there's an infraction, something that happens, in my opinion, we have the best chance to deescalate the situation, to be there for one another, because we're right there."Antonio Brown, another marcher as Sunday's protest, said the fact the officers were Black reflects how embedded white supremacy is in policing."If it was a white man, these Black officers wouldn't have done it," he said.Brown called for an end to qualified immunity — a legal principle that prevents state and local officials, including law enforcement, from lawsuits alleging someone's constitutional rights have been violated, except in cases where the violation is clear — to better hold police officers accountable.Weekend editor Keisha Rowe contributed. Contact reporter Rae Johnson at RNJohnson@gannett.com. Follow them on Twitter at @RaeJ_33.

Restaurant, ex-LMPD officer apologize to unwitting attendees of Breonna Taylor book event

By |2023-01-27T13:52:00-05:00January 27th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

Restaurant owners and a former Louisville Metro Police officer involved in the 2020 raid at Breonna Taylor's apartment who hosted an event in Kentucky last week have apologized for holding the presentation while people who had not signed up to attend were in the crowd.In a video statement this week, ex-LMPD officer Jonathan Mattingly defended the event's subject matter, which concerned the aftermath of Taylor's killing at the hands of police in Louisville, but said it should have been held at a "totally secure location." And ownership of Anna's Greek Restaurant, the Bowling Green establishment where the presentation took place, said in a statement that it apologized to attendees and "anyone else who has been emotionally or negatively impacted by this controversial incident."Mattingly was a guest at a Jan. 17 event hosted by the Republican Women of South Central Kentucky to promote his new book, which discusses the March 2020 LMPD raid that left Taylor dead and the aftermath of the incident, a key factor behind a local and national protest movement that took place that summer. The dinner was initially scheduled to take place at the Bowling Green Country Club alongside state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, a gubernatorial candidate in the Republican primary, but both parties backed out after news of Mattingly's presence sparked a backlash.In his video, Mattingly said the dinner, which included a loud video presentation with audio of gunshots, was aimed at GOP donors in the crowd who "wanted to know the truth so they had some ammunition in their pocket on who they knew who to support and who to vote for."However, while the private event with about 80 guests took place on the second floor of Anna's Greek Restaurant, some patrons who had reserved seats that evening to dine on the first floor said they were not aware the presentation was set to take place upstairs and were unwittingly exposed to the controversial event during their meal.Mattingly apologized to those crowd members in his video – "I know if I were in your shoes and there was something that I disagreed with being played over a place I brought my patronage to and paid for I'd be very upset as well" – and to the restaurant, which he described as "victim in this because they didn't know what was going on." The event was moved from the country club because "naysayers and haters" threatened the venue when they learned he would be there, Mattingly said, which put the restaurant that took the dinner "in a rough situation, right in the middle of crossfire that they didn't belong."In a separate statement published on its website, Anna's Greek Restaurant said the accommodation for the group was made on a notice of two hours and owners were "unaware of the content to be presented.""We now have recognized the need to be exceedingly diligent in reviewing any content to be presented when blending restaurant patrons with private events," the restaurant's statement said. "... It is our deepest desire to meet the needs of all people who visit our restaurant, regardless of race, religion, culture, and opinions."Cayce Johnson, a patron in attendance that night who has spoken out about the event, previously said everyone in the restaurant could hear what was taking place. She said Mattingly was introduced to "raucous applause" and at one point, loud video footage from the night of the raid was played.In his video, Mattingly said the audio of gunshots in the footage that aired that night was not taken during the raid at her apartment, as no video footage of the incident exists. Instead, he said, the footage used video and audio of subsequent protests, including a shooting that left seven people injured on the first night of the demonstrations and a shooting that injured two officers after Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced just one LMPD officer, Brett Hankison, would face charges over the raid.Mattingly, who was shot in the leg the night officers attempted to serve the no-knock warrant at Taylor's apartment, is currently promoting his book "12 Seconds In The Dark: A Police Officer’s Firsthand Account of the Breonna Taylor Raid."Reach Ana Alvarez Briñez at abrinez@gannett.com; follow her on Twitter @SoyAnaAlvarez.More:Militia leader sentenced to prison for pointing rifle at police in LouisvilleMore:'A game changing decision': Why Louisville Trader Joe's employees voted to unionizeMore:'Says a whole lot more about him': Elaine Chao speaks out about Trump's racist comments

Militia leader sentenced to prison for pointing rifle at police in Louisville

By |2023-01-26T14:30:55-05:00January 26th, 2023|Breonna Taylor|

A militia leader has been sentenced to more time in prison for pointing an assault rifle at police in Louisville during racial justice protests in 2020.John Johnson, who goes by Grand Master Jay, leads the Not F***ing Around Coalition, a group of Black militants that visited Louisville several times amid demonstrations over the police killing of Breonna Taylor.On Thursday, he was ordered to serve one year in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of wanton endangerment in Jefferson Circuit Court.More:Louisville to spend $30+ million on new housing campus, eviction prevention. Here's howJohnson, from Cincinnati, was previously sentenced to seven years and two months in prison after he was found guilty on federal charges for the same incident."Johnson manifested indifference to the value of human life and created a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury when he pointed an assault riffle at 5 police officers stationed on the roof" of a building near Jefferson Square Park, a press release from Jefferson Circuit Court said.More:Brooklawn to appeal state's decision to revoke license for treating kids at facilitiesThe sentences are set to be served concurrently.In November, Johnson's attorney Murdoch Walker II said he would appeal the federal sentencing.Reach Ana Rocío Álvarez Bríñez at abrinez@gannett.com; follow her on Twitter at @SoyAnaAlvarez

Second person dies after Denny’s restaurant sign crushes car in Elizabethtown

By |2023-01-23T17:27:23-05:00January 23rd, 2023|Breonna Taylor|

A second person has died after a Denny's restaurant sign fell onto a family's car in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, last week during a wind advisory.The death of Lloyd Eugene Curtis Sr. follows that of wife, Lillian Curtis, 72, who died from "blunt force injuries" sustained when the sign fell on the car, according to Dan Alpiger from the Jefferson County Coroner's Office. The sign partially crushed the car after falling from a pole near a Denny's parking lot in Elizabethtown, about 45 miles south of Louisville.Chaos with 'no repercussions': This one middle school shows the many challenges JCPS facesLillian Curtis died of blunt force injuries, according to the Jefferson County Coroner's Office. Curtis suffered a "catastrophic" head wound, her granddaughter, Amy Nichols, told local news outlets.Lillian's husband, Lloyd Curtis, 77, died early on Monday morning at home from his injuries sustained in the accident, according to family.Their daughter, Mary Graham, who was driving, was released from the hospital after being treated for chest injuries, Nichols told news outlets.A wind advisory was in effect Thursday afternoon with peak wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Louisville.The couple, who had been together for over 50 years, were on their way to Columbia from Louisville with their daughter, family said. Lloyd Curtis had heart surgery just a few days prior, and the family had gone to pick him up.The granddaughter said her grandparents were the "glue" in her family and this will be a "whole change" for them, including the couple's two daughters and son. Lloyd Curtis had come home the night before he died to attend Lillian Curtis' funeral, said Brit Curtis and Amy Nichols.Nichols describes her grandparents as the most "loving, compassionate, understanding, whole-hearted people in the world" and felt "blessed" to have been their granddaughter.How did Denny's respond?A Denny's spokesperson told USA Today the company is aware of the incident."Safety is our top priority, and we are working with the authorities to better understand what led to this situation," the restaurant chain said in a statement to USA TODAY."Our thoughts are with all of those involved," it added.More:Dinner featuring ex-LMPD officer in Breonna Taylor case crossed line, attendee saysThe Curtis and Nichols family have set up a GoFundMe for travel and funeral expenses that can be found online.Contact reporter Rae Johnson at RNJohnson@gannett.com. Follow them on Twitter at @RaeJ_33.

Dinner featuring ex-LMPD officer in Breonna Taylor case crossed line, attendee says

By |2023-01-20T21:26:52-05:00January 20th, 2023|Breonna Taylor|

A Kentucky NAACP chapter is speaking out after a woman in Bowling Green claimed diners at an upscale local restaurant were subjected to a graphic promotion of a book by a former officer involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor that was held without advance notice.The event Tuesday was hosted by the Republican Women of South Central Kentucky, attendees and the local NAACP branch said, and included an appearance by ex-Louisville Metro Police officer Jonathan Mattingly, who was promoting his new book about the Breonna Taylor shooting and the fallout from the botched raid at her apartment in March 2020.While the group met on the second floor, restaurant patron Cayce Johnson told The Courier Journal that audio from the event could be heard throughout the restaurant because organizers used a loud speaker. Mattingly was introduced to "raucous applause," she said, and at one point, loud video footage from the night of the raid was played, which could be clearly heard by diners below.“We actually had friends of color with us in our group, and we were all disgusted and infuriated,” Johnson said Thursday. “It was just it was so inappropriate and it had to be traumatizing for them to experience that.”More headlines:Blasting to resume at VA hospital construction site. Here's when it will happenThe event was initially scheduled to take place at the Bowling Green Country Club in conjunction with an appearance by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, a 2023 gubernatorial candidate in the Republican primary. Quarles canceled his appearance ahead of time, citing “the controversial nature of another speaker at this event,” and the country club told The Courier Journal it "made the decision to cancel the dinner event upon being made aware of the invited guest speaker."Representatives from Anna’s Greek Restaurant did not respond to a request for comment Friday, and a phone call to the Bowling Green Country Club was not immediately returned. A woman who answered a call Friday to the phone number connected to the Republican Women of South Central Kentucky hung up on a reporter seeking comment, and by Friday afternoon the organization's Facebook page was no longer publicly accessible.Ryan Dearbone, president of the Bowling Green-Warren County NAACP, said his organization is conducting an investigation into what happened at the restaurant. He said the Bowling Green Country Club canceled the event after his organization and other local civil rights groups spoke up against it earlier in the week. He said he was told by people who had attended the restaurant that night without knowing the event was taking place that body camera footage was shown and had created an “uncomfortable situation.""This is not a political issue,” Dearbone added. “This is an issue of human decency and civil rights."Dearbone added a Republican Women of South Central Kentucky member had contacted him and said the event was “taken out of context,” as the group was “simply opening a door of First Amendment rights to Mr. Mattingly to hear his story – that he is also a victim in all of this and they hate that it's affected Anna's Greek Restaurant … also that she and none of the people in the group are racist."Read more:Kentucky Derby Festival unveils official 'Spirit of Kentucky' poster for 2023Johnson, who was at the restaurant on the night of the dinner, said she had made a reservation several days prior and was not made aware of the event until her group was ordering food. Everything was fine, she said, until lights at the restaurant dimmed and the presentation began."Ryan Quarles did the right thing. And the country club did the right thing. They canceled,” Johnson said. “They realized the optics were absolutely horrible, that this is not something that needs to be monetized or perpetuated."Taylor was a Black woman who lived in Louisville who was shot and killed in March 2020 by LMPD officers serving a no-knock warrant at her apartment. She was 26, and her death, along with the prominent police killings of George Floyd and several other Black people across the country, sparked a large protest movement that summer and fall.Reporter Lucas Aulbach contributed.See also:How you can land tickets to the Louisville Orchestra's Mammoth Cave shows with Yo-Yo Ma

Kentucky State Police captain says agency discriminated against her as a woman and mother

By |2023-01-19T05:34:01-05:00January 19th, 2023|David McAtee|

A Kentucky State Police captain and mother of two is accusing the agency in an ongoing lawsuit of sex discrimination by passing her up for promotions given instead to male colleagues.Kentucky State Police Captain Jennifer Sandlin, a captain who joined KSP after graduating from the training academy in 2003, is the commander of Post 13, which is based in Hazard and covers parts of Perry, Breathitt, Letcher, Leslie and Knott counties. She is the first female commander in Post 13 history and previously worked in numerous roles for Post 9 out of Pikeville. But Sandlin said her efforts to move up in rank have failed each time due to her gender and her status as a mother. Sandlin, 42, is a mother of two children who are 17 and 14 years old. Her husband retired from KSP in 2020. In August, Sandlin filed her lawsuit against KSP and the state in Franklin Circuit Court, alleging sex discrimination. Sandlin is represented by well-known Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, who noted the case has moved forward this month with back and forth arguments on producing evidence. Specifically, Clay said the attorneys for the defendants objected in January to his request that he said seeks to uncover “disparate treatment” between male and female troopers and the travel arrangements offered to personnel depending on their gender, with KSP counsel claiming producing the records is “burdensome” and not relevant to the case. Local crime news:Prosecutors recommend probation, not prison, for ex-LMPD officer in David McAtee caseClay also pointed to the “Command Staff” section of KSP’s website and how it features photos showing how each leader is currently a white man. Since the first female trooper graduated from the KSP training academy in 1978, five women have risen above the rank of captain, the attorney for Sandlin noted. “I want somebody to explain that to me,” Clay told The Courier Journal. “Are there no qualified female command personnel within KSP to fill those positions? It’s very troubling.” Claims made in a lawsuit represent one side of a case.  A KSP spokesperson said the agency, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, does not comment on pending litigation.  But in a court filing, apart from acknowledging KSP had vacancies for the position of major, attorneys for the agency and the state otherwise largely denied the allegations and asked a judge to dismiss Sandlin’s complaint. Sandlin, who earned a forensic science degree from Eastern Kentucky University, claims in her suit she qualified and applied for various openings for Major positions over the years. That included in 2018, when KSP had openings for Major at its Forensic Laboratory Branch and as commander of its Operational Support Troop. A male captain was selected over Sandlin for each of those positions, according to the suit. In July, Kentucky State Police had an opening for the position of Major to serve as chief information officer that Sandlin again qualified for and applied for, but KSP picked a male captain, the suit says. “The selection by KSP of males over the Plaintiff established a pattern of discrimination on the basis of sex, contrary to KRS 344.020,” Sandlin’s lawsuit claims, citing the state law outlawing discrimination on the basis of sex and other protected categories. Louisville police under Shields:How the LMPD is different & what is still the sameClay said Sandlin feels like leadership at KSP has viewed her role as a mother as somehow limiting her time and ability to serve in a more senior position.Sandlin, who has also held the rank of trooper, sergeant and lieutenant, helped pilot the first Angel Initiative program for KSP’s Post 9 in Eastern Kentucky. The Angel Initiative aims to offer treatment, rather than incarceration, to those struggling with addiction. Last year, Sandlin received a lifetime achievement award from the Kentucky Women’s Law Enforcement Network, with a news release highlighting her “exceptional work in efforts to be a positive role model for other women in law enforcement,” including by organizing the first-ever retreat for female KSP personnel. “Captain Sandlin stated that she was nearing the end of her career and wanted to ensure that other female troopers were getting the same opportunities to network and support each other that she had during her career,” said the award announcement that was posted in November on KSP’s website. Sandlin is seeking, among other requests, an unspecified amount of damages for lost wages, a jury trial, injunctive relief and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial. This is not the first case against KSP alleging sex discrimination, with some appeals relating to promotions and others dealing with physical requirements for employment.  In 1979, for example, courts upheld Kentucky State Police’s minimum height requirement of 5 feet 6 inches that was in place at the time for state troopers, after two female candidates had filed discrimination complaints against it with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com 

Ryan Quarles backs out of event featuring officer involved in Breonna Taylor shooting

By |2023-01-17T15:34:31-05:00January 17th, 2023|Breonna Taylor|

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Quarles has backed out of an event in Western Kentucky at which a police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor was to discuss the "false, woke storyline" of what happened that night.An invitation to the Tuesday night dinner buffet at the Bowling Green Country Club, hosted by the Republican Women's Club of South Central Kentucky, circulated online over the weekend. It indicated Quarles and former Louisville Metro Police Officer Jonathan Mattingly both would be featured there.More:New at Louisville's Jefferson Square Park: A memorial for Breonna Taylor and 2020 protestsHowever, Quarles, who is the state's agriculture secretary, said Tuesday he will arrange to appear before the club some other time, sans Mattingly."I, like other candidates running for governor, have been invited to introduce myself to this group," he said in a written statement to The Courier Journal. "I was invited independently of other speakers and due to the controversial nature of another speaker at this event, we have decided to rescheduled to a later date."Mattingly was involved in the March 2020 raid during which police shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and emergency room technician, in her Louisville home.He was among the officers who fired a gun in her apartment that night, and he was shot in the leg by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who said he thought an intruder was breaking in. Louisville Metro later reached a $2 million settlement with Walker after he filed civil lawsuits over the fatal raid.Mattingly was cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal LMPD investigation into policy violations in December 2020, and he retired in June 2021. Four other former officers involved in the incident were indicted on federal charges last August. One of them, Kelly Ann Goodlett, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate Taylor's civil rights for helping falsify an affidavit for the search of Taylor's apartment that ended in her death.More:FACT CHECK 2.0: Separating the truth from the lies in the Breonna Taylor police shootingThe apparent invite to the Republican women's club's Tuesday event that circulated online referred to the search warrant served on Taylor's home as "valid" − despite the federal indictments that indicate the warrant was obtained under false pretenses − and said Mattingly would speak at the event about the raid and "how the media's narrative has been corrupted and twisted to fit into a false, woke storyline."The Courier Journal did not immediately receive a response to an email seeking comment from the women's club Tuesday morning. In a post Monday on Facebook, the club said it invited Mattingly − who wrote a book giving his account of the raid − to share his experience of the night police shot and killed Taylor."These events may be controversial however, we believe Sgt. Mattingly has the right to share his experience," the club's statement said. "Other individuals with firsthand experience relating to this case are welcome to request an opportunity to speak to our organization as well."Taylor's death at the hands of police attracted international attention and had a big impact on Louisville, where calls for justice became central to historic protests in the city.Reach reporter Morgan Watkins at mwatkins@courierjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26. 

How the Courier Journal brought people together through events in 2022

By |2023-01-06T10:29:50-05:00January 6th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

After two years of canceled or virtual events, The Courier Journal worked to bring people together in 2022 — helping them choose who to vote for in local elections, introducing them to the best of Louisville's food scene, teaching them about the new student assignment plan and honoring the city's Top Workplaces.In all, The Courier Journal hosted more than 15 events during the past year, the vast majority of which were livestreamed and involved community partners.We also launched The Courier Journal's mobile newsroom in partnership with the Louisville Free Public Library system, sending journalists to different neighborhoods to hear from residents, answer questions and gain insight to help us better cover our diverse community."Bringing people together, sharing crucial information and expertise, and getting out into our small cities and neighborhoods to hear from residents were major goals for us in 2022," said Executive Editor Mary Irby-Jones. "Thank you to all who partnered with us or attended events or shared your insight. You helped us impact our community for the good."Here are highlights from our 2022 events:Student assignment overhaul forumWhen the superintendent of the largest school district in Kentucky proposed major changes to the way students are assigned to public schools, the community had questions — and The Courier Journal set out to get answers.We partnered with the Louisville Urban League, the Louisville Branch NAACP and the Coalition of Black Retired Principals and Administrators of JCPS on a community forum in which Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio revealed his plan. The March 22 event drew 400 people to the Norton Health Care Sports and Learning Center in western Louisville. Hundreds more watched the livestream.More:Louisville's desegregation myth: How a busing plan hurt Black communities it aimed to helpPollio had said his proposal — which would stop forced busing of middle and high school students from the predominantly Black West End, giving them choice — was necessary to end the unfair practice of putting the burden of diversifying schools on Black children, as revealed in a months-long Courier Journal investigation.On June 1, the JCPS school board voted to overhaul the student assignment plan.Racial Reckoning seriesFollowing the police killing of Breonna Taylor and months-long protests in Louisville, The Courier Journal partnered with the Frazier History Museum and Muhammad Ali Center for "Racial Reckoning" — a series of community conversations on racial justice issues facing our city.The series started in 2021 focusing on housing inequity, education and policing. On Jan. 27, we hosted the fourth event in the series, focusing on equity in health care during a virtual event.During the series, thousands of people listened online and hundreds attended the in-person discussions.Related:Reading, felony offenders and scandals: Courier Journal stories that made an impact in 2022Related:A special thanks to the funders and partners of The Courier JournalLouisville mayoral forumsWith a whopping 12 candidates vying to be Louisville's next mayor — four Republicans and eight Democrats — The Courier Journal teamed up with Simmons College of Kentucky, Louisville's only historically Black college, to host back-to-back candidates forums designed to inform residents as they prepared to vote in the May primaries.More:Louisville Mayor-elect Craig Greenberg announces 58-member transition team. See the namesThe forums took place on April 12, with candidates answering questions from a panel of Courier Journal reporters and a Simmons College student. The questions were formed after The Courier Journal asked readers what issues and questions they wanted answered.Better Derby BettingThere are few things more stressful than walking up to a betting window at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day and greeting the mutual clerk with a blank look on your face when they ask how you'd like to bet.That's why we once again hosted our popular Better Derby Betting event to help Courier Journal readers take the guesswork out of the betting game and hear from the experts on how to bet the horses at the 148th Run for the Roses.The Courier Journal's lead horse racing reporter Jason Frakes hosted the ticketed event on April 27, with a panel of experts including Ed DeRosa and Sara Elbadwi, both of Horse Racing Nation, and David Levitch, a former University of Louisville basketball player who is heavily involved in thoroughbred racing through the DC Racing ownership syndicate and as a handicapper.More:Courier Journal hosts annual Better Derby Betting night at Ten20 Craft Brewery: See photosThe 90-minute discussion and event at Ten20 Craft Brewery in Butchertown was sold out. Guests were treated to expert tips and were able to ask questions of the panelists.Remembering the Black SixA weeklong racial uprising. Six Black people accused of conspiring to destroy buildings in the West End.It happened in Louisville in 1968, but a panel discussion hosted May 24 by The Courier Journal, the Frazier Kentucky History Museum and Lean Into Louisville showed there are lessons from the tragedy that apply today.The defendants were known as the Black Six. For two years their lives were in limbo as they awaited trial. In summer 1970, a judge threw the case out of court. But by then, it had turned the defendants lives upside down and left a permanent mark on Louisville's history, a reminder of the ways the city repeatedly fought to quiet Black dissent.During the event, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer apologized for the wrong that was done. Two members of the wrongly accused Black Six — Manfred Reid and Sam Hawkins — were on the panel at the event, as was former Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, whose mother was a member of the Black Six."Until we acknowledge the harm that's happened in the past, it's hard to move on," Fischer said. "I wasn't there then, but I'm here now. I represent an institution. So I apologize."Not only did the mayor apologize, on Dec. 30, he unveiled a historic marker outside Metro Hall "dedicated to the Black Six, whose struggle taught us to never give up the battle for dignity and justice."School board candidates forumsAs four of the seven members of Kentucky's largest school district faced reelection challenges in one of the most expensive school board election cycles in recent history, The Courier Journal got out in front of the issues, organizing candidate forums for each of the contested races.Incumbents faced challenges from conservative-leaning candidates as was the case across the country as disputes over mask mandates and how race is taught about in school drew candidates who wanted to see change.We hosted the forums in August, September and October in local libraries in conjunction with our mobile newsroom. Each forum included an opportunity for residents to ask questions, and each was livestreamed to reach more people.Showcasing our Top WorkplacesIn October, The Courier Journal returned to an in-person experience for its Top Workplaces event. The event at the Muhammad Ali Center downtown honored the best of the best among Louisville’s thriving business community.Employees at companies around the metro area anonymously filled out questionnaires about their companies, many of which were honored for their inclusive workplace practices and for creating a positive working environment, among other accolades. Additionally, some top-notch managers were honored for their commitment to excellence.More:Meet the 2022 Top Workplaces for Greater Louisville winnersExperiencing The CJ's Wine & Food eventAfter a two-year absence due to COVID-19, The Courier Journal's popular Wine and Food Experience was back in person in 2022 at Norton Commons. The sold-out event, hosted Oct. 1, featured food from more than 20 locally owned restaurants, alongside a wide range of wine, beer and cocktails.The event, which sells out each year, boasts an elevated VIP experience with special cooking demonstrations and panels. Meanwhile, all guests at the USA Today Network event were treated to cooking demos from a former Top Chef contestant.

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