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NAACP: Attorney General Daniel Cameron must resign or be impeached over Breonna Taylor case

By |2022-09-30T11:57:05-04:00September 30th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron should resign immediately, the Louisville NAACP announced Friday, “for failing to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.”If the first-term Republican refuses to step down, the group said it will call on Kentucky’s Republican-heavy legislature to impeach him.“The recent federal indictments of four Louisville Metro Police officers involved in the Breonna Taylor killing has highlighted, demonstrated, and proven the insufficiency of the state investigation led by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth and an absence of an understanding of the Commonwealth’s criminal laws,” the NAACP said in a press release.More:Woman shouldn't face felony for $80 in shoplifting at Walmart, Kentucky Supreme Court saysCameron drew criticism for his handling of the Taylor case, in which he did not charge anyone for her death at the hands of Louisville police in March 2020. Four law enforcement officers were later federally indicted in August 2022 for charges tied to Taylor’s death and the investigation preceding it. In a resolution sent to Cameron and legislative leaders Thursday, the NAACP noted the AG is obligated to “enforce the laws equally and fairly.” Cameron, they continued, has said, “I don’t care what anybody says in the national media, when it comes to supporting and defending law enforcement, we are going to do that. We are going to back the blue.”More:Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron comes to Trump's defense in Mar-a-Lago caseIn separate comments in August just days after the federal indictments were announced, Cameron told the crowd at Fancy Farm, an annual political picnic in Western Kentucky, that he will “always have (law enforcement’s) back and we will always support the blue.”Cameron, a Republican, is running for governor in 2023. The NAACP wrote “the insufficiency of the investigation and the lack of understanding of Kentucky criminal statutes were the results of the current Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in his own words ‘backing the blue,’ not justice.”Spokespeople for Cameron and the House and Senate Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The Kentucky General Assembly has the authority to impeach constitutional officers, including the attorney general, but impeachments are rare.More:Who is running to be Kentucky's next governor?This story will be updated.Reach Olivia Krauth at okrauth@courierjournal.com and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth. 

4 graphics break down racial disparities in Louisville police traffic stops

By |2022-09-28T05:26:57-04:00September 28th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Twenty months after a high-profile review found Louisville Metro police don't treat Black people equitably, data shows officers are continuing to pull over Black drivers and search their vehicles at disparate rates.Black people make up 20% of Louisville's population age 18 and older as of the 2020 Census. But city data shows Black drivers made up 33% of LMPD traffic stops where a citation was issued and 53% of searches between January 2020 and September 2022.The figures are consistent with a 2019 Courier Journal analysis, as well as a 2021 Hillard Heintze report commissioned by city officials in the wake of protests over the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was fatally shot by officers serving a "no-knock" warrant in a failed drug investigation.According to The Courier Journal analysis, Black drivers accounted for 33% of stops and 57% of searches between 2016 and 2018.The rate of stops involving Black drivers hasn't wavered in the four years since, despite a reduction in stops amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Meanwhile, the percentage of vehicle searches involving Black drivers fell in 2019 before increasing each year after.Louisville traffic stops:What police can and can't do if you get pulled overWhen broken down by race and gender, white men make up the largest portion of traffic stops with citations, which can involve anything from speeding to not wearing a seat belt. They account for 36% of stops, on par with their 35% of the population 18 and older.However, Black men are most frequently searched at 45% — a vast difference from their 9% of the population.Overrepresentation of Black drivers in stops and searches is most frequent in LMPD divisions with the lowest Black populations.For example, Black people make up just 5% of the population in the Fifth Division, encompassing Clifton and the Highlands. But they account for 31% of stops and 41% of searches there.More:Louisville police still search Black drivers most frequently despite promise of reformsBlack drivers are underrepresented in stops and searches in LMPD's Second Division, which encompasses much of the predominantly Black West End.To explore more traffic stop data, visit data.louisvilleky.gov.Find the Hillard Heintze report at louisville-police.org/35/LMPD-Transparency.Reach reporter Bailey Loosemore at bloosemore@courier-journal.com, 502-582-4646 or on Twitter @bloosemore. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: https://www.courier-journal.com/baileyl.

Former LMPD officer in David McAtee case may plead guilty, face less prison time

By |2022-09-20T19:05:09-04:00September 20th, 2022|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

The former Louisville Metro Police officer charged with unreasonable use of force in the lead-up to West End barbecue stand owner David McAtee’s death in 2020 may plead guilty to a misdemeanor instead of a felony in her federal case and thus avoid a longer prison sentence. As a result, federal prosecutors indicated Tuesday in a superseding indictment that she may get up to one year in prison instead of the 10-year sentence she initially faced. Former officer Katie Crews was indicted in March on one count of 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." The indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice did not name Machelle McAtee but 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 the victim. Crews, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was 29 at the time of her indictment and initially pleaded not guilty in March. She waseventually released on a $25,000 unsecured bond, according to court records. During a status conference last week, prosecutors and the ex-officer's attorney, Steve Schroering, agreed to set a change-of-plea hearing for Oct. 11 before U.S. District Judge Benjamin Beaton. Other LMPD cases:These are the ex-Louisville Metro Police officers charged by feds with unlawful forceThe federal government indicated in a superseding indictment filed Tuesday she could face up to one year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine and up to a year of supervised release. She initially faced a maximum of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and $250,000 fine.Schroering, who often represents current and former LMPD personnel in legal matters, declined to comment.Crews was on paid administrative leave from June 1, 2020, until LMPD fired her in February 2022 following internal investigations into her actions and also into a Facebook post published days before the McAtee shooting in which she celebrated a protester getting shot by pepperballs, according to the department. Crews was among the LMPD officers and Kentucky National Guard members who responded shortly after midnight on that June night 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 Mayor Greg Fischer put in place amid protests over Breonna Taylor's killing. The night would end with National Guard and LMPD personnel shooting and killing David McAtee, with investigators determining the fatal shot came from a National Guard member. David McAtee was 53 years old. Fischer fired LMPD Chief Steve Conrad after learning the officers did not have their body cameras on during the shooting. A lawsuit later filed on behalf of David McAtee’s mother and niece describes the scene of YaYa’s BBQ that summer as a safe haven in the West End, blocks away from downtown protests and unrest over the police killings of Black Americans like Taylor and George Floyd that had begun a few days earlier. "There were no known protestors at the location, and no law enforcement intelligence suggested that violent protestors were meeting up in the area," says the pending lawsuit. But now-former LMPD Lt. Josh Judah allegedly then called the department’s command center and, per the lawsuit and reports, told officials, “Check out what we're about to do,” before National Guard and LMPD personnel moved in to clear a crowd mostly gathered in the Dino’s Food Mart parking lot across the street from McAtee’s barbecue business. Machelle 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 footage from a neighboring business shows Crews standing at the fence line shooting projectiles at McAtee's door, even though no one was outside. Machelle McAtee contends Crews did not give her any verbal commands. Crews later admitted to investigators she had fired at Machelle McAtee that night."She was standing, I wouldn’t say in an aggressive manner, but … she was not going to go inside," Crews told investigators five days after the incident."After giving her verbal commands, I did shoot more pepper balls in her direction. She still refused, so I did shoot off more.”After Crews fired the pepper balls, a rush of people from the street pushed their way into the kitchen of YaYa's BBQ, where David McAtee lived and worked, sometimes feeding police officers on the beat, according to those who knew him.Interior 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 the bullet from a Kentucky National Guard member killed him instantly, though another 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 Guard members or LMPD officers for firing weapons that night. He said Crews violated department policies, but her actions didn't rise to the level of a crime. Along with Crews, at least three other now-former LMPD officers have faced federal charges since 2020 that relate to the unlawful use of force against civilians. Breonna Taylor case:Trial for ex-LMPD Detective Brett Hankison in Breonna Taylor case delayed nearly a yearIn addition, the DOJ announced indictments in August against four LMPD personnel accused of lying on the drug-related search warrant or recklessly firing bullets into a neighboring apartment during the raid that brought police to Taylor’s South End apartment in March 2020. The raid, which would go on to garner international attention, resulted in the officers fatally shooting Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, after her boyfriend fired a warning shot at the group he said he thought were intruders, not police.  No drugs or money were found in Taylor’s home. Reporter Kala Kachmar contributed to this story. Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com 

These are the ex-Louisville Metro Police officers charged by feds with unlawful force

By |2022-09-20T05:46:29-04:00September 20th, 2022|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

As the U.S. Department of Justice conducts its investigation into the patterns and practices of Louisville Metro Police and Metro Government, several former LMPD officers have faced federal charges since 2020 that relate to unlawful uses of force but are unrelated to the death of Breonna Taylor.The following is a rundown of the former department personnel who have faced or are still facing criminal cases in federal court, along with one cop who was under investigation but has yet to face charges. (The list does not include Brett Hankison and three other ex-LMPD officers who face charges in connection with Taylor's killing.)Katie CrewsThe former LMPD officer at the center of the fatal shooting of West End barbecue chef David McAtee was charged in March 2022 with depriving McAtee's niece of her constitutional rights "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," according to the DOJ.Crews was among the LMPD officers and Kentucky National Guard members who responded to a crowd just after midnight on June 1, 2020, that had gathered after a city-implemented curfew at Dino's Food Mart near McAtee's barbecue stand at 26th Street and West Broadway amid protests over Breonna Taylor's killing. Some witnesses who were in the Dino's parking lot or with McAtee as he cooked that night noted they were not actively participating in the protests, which were focused several blocks away in downtown Louisville.Crews, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, is accused of firing pepper ball projectiles, a "less lethal" weapon, at M.M. while they were on private property and did not pose a threat to Crews or other officers at the scene. M.M. is not named in the indictment, but McAtee's niece, Machelle McAtee, previously told investigators Crews had injured her by shooting pepper balls at her while police were dispersing the crowd.Crews later admitted to investigators she had fired at Machelle McAtee that night."She was standing, I wouldn’t say in an aggressive manner, but … she was not going to go inside," Crews described to investigators five days after the incident."After giving her verbal commands, I did shoot more pepper balls in her direction. She still refused, so I did shoot off more.”Potential punishment for Crews include 10 years of imprisonment, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.Crews was on paid administrative leave from June 1, 2020, until LMPD fired her in February 2022. Crews appealed her firing to the city's Police Merit Board but requested the hearing be put on hold until her federal case is resolved.LMPD's Professional Standards Unit found Katie Crews violated three policies related to the McAtee incident: body camera procedures, de-escalation and use of chemical agents, according to her termination letter.A separate internal investigation related to a Facebook post in which Crews celebrated a protester being shot by pepper balls found she also violated policies on using social media and police conduct.She appeared Sept. 15, 2022, for a status conference, and attorneys indicated a change of plea hearing is likely this fall.Bryan Wilson and Curt FlynnThe two former LMPD officers were convicted in June 2022 of federal civil rights violations related to throwing drinks from their unmarked squad cars at people in Louisville's West End.Wilson, 36, and Flynn, 40, both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Louisville pedestrians through the arbitrary use of force, according to the Department of Justice. Wilson also pleaded guilty in a cyberstalking case, in which he threatened to publish compromising photos or videos of at least six females unless they provided additional compromising material.They are both scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30. Wilson faces a combined maximum penalty of 15 years in prison in his two cases, while Flynn faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.Brett Hankison:Trial for ex-LMPD detective in Breonna Taylor case delayed nearly a yearAfter his federal conviction, Wilson resigned from LMPD. As for Flynn, Chief Erika Erika Shields said he resigned in July 2020 due to a separate criminal investigation.Both Wilson and Flynn were working as detectives in the Ninth Mobile Division from August 2018 through September 2019 when they threw large beverages, including the container, at civilians who were walking, according to a release from the Department of Justice.The two — joined by others who were not named in the release — threw the drinks while dressed in LMPD uniforms and driving unmarked police vehicles. When they identified a target, they'd drive their LMPD vehicles closer to the person before throwing the drinks after announcing on the police radio that "someone was thirsty," or "thirsty fam," the DOJ release said.After throwing the beverage, the driver of the LMPD vehicle would flee the scene. On many occasions, people were hit with the beverage and on at least one occasion, a person was knocked down after being hit, according to the DOJ.The assaults were also recorded either by the detectives or others participating, "sometimes from inside the car from which the beverage was thrown, and sometimes from an LMPD car following closely behind the car from which the beverage was thrown," the DOJ said."Wilson subsequently displayed these videos to other members of the LMPD Ninth Mobile Unit," according to the DOJ. The behavior of the officers became public in June 2021, when Shields said the FBI was investigating, calling it "another black eye to the department." Jefferson Circuit Judge Jessica Green, who previously served as the Metro Council representative for District 1, which includes West End neighborhoods, had said the victims included Black residents who were homeless.Cory Evans (already sentenced)Cory Evans, who had been an officer for about seven years before resigning from the department in July 2021 after LMPD initiated his termination, was sentenced in February 2022 to two years in prison for beating an unarmed, kneeling protester on the head with a wooden riot stick and then repeatedly lying to his superiors about it.Evans had pleaded guilty in 2021 to deprivation of rights under color of law in connection with the May 31, 2020, assault of Marty Chester, which occurred in the early days of the racial justice protests in Louisville.Chester suffered a gash on his head, needed three staples and lost his hearing for several months. He also said at the sentencing hearing he had experienced anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder since the assault.Evans said he was "embarrassed" by what he'd done during a night of protests that another officer described as "pure chaos," then apologized for his actions and for having "drug (LMPD's) name through the mud."But in an interview with WAVE3 News published soon after his sentencing hearing, the ex-officer struck a different tone, describing the moment when "the feds say that I struck him.""I don't deny that he was hit," Evans said. "I deny that I hit him with the intent or malice."Brian Butler, the attorney for Evans, argued in court that Chester was in a group of people reportedly committing arson and throwing bricks that night.But Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gregory reminded the court that Chester was not on trial. While Chester was arrested that night, his charge was ultimately dismissed and expunged, Gregory said, and no officer claimed to have seen him throw bricks or start fires. In addition to the two years in prison, Evans must also pay $1,962.85 in restitution.Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com

Louisville mayor candidate Bill Dieruf demands feds release LMPD report before election

By |2022-09-15T23:10:03-04:00September 15th, 2022|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

Louisville mayoral candidates Bill Dieruf and Craig Greenberg held back-to-back news conferences this week that focused on different issues, with the Republican zeroing in on the looming U.S. Department of Justice investigative report into Louisville and its police department and the Democrat covering his "Day One" priorities.Dieruf spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon in Jefferson Square Park, the hub of 2020's racial justice protests. The sole purpose of his presser was to demand the DOJ release its "pattern-or-practice" findings concerning Louisville Metro Police and Metro Government "as soon as possible."Last week Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Erika Shields made the media rounds to share how the DOJ's report on the Louisville investigation, which Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in April 2021, is expected "within weeks". They stressed that the city and police department have "not waited" on implementing over 100 reforms.Another Kansas?Kentucky abortion amendment fight brings millions for opposing groups"They know this report from the Department of Justice will be a damning indictment of their leadership and that of their predecessors," Dieruf said Tuesday. "This is nothing more than a last-minute attempt to distract us from their failures by pointing to changes that have done nothing to address the root cause of the problem."In addition to calling for the report's release, he asked Fischer, Shields and their administration to publicly release "all briefings and communications they’ve received from the Department of Justice concerning the report’s preliminary findings.""It is absolutely imperative that the report be released to the public before the election on November 8, so that the voters may be fully informed," added Dieruf, the mayor of suburban Jeffersontown. "It’s clear that Mayor Fischer will attempt to do as he has done so many times in the past — stonewall, stall, cover up and blame others for the critical findings of the Department of Justice. Only by doing so can he protect Craig Greenberg, his hand-picked successor."Fischer's spokeswoman, Jessica Wethington, told The Courier Journal the DOJ "will release their report when they are ready to do so.""We have not seen the report or any findings, and as has been shared with the public, the Mayor and the Louisville Metro Police Department have not waited on the Department of Justice to begin implementation of 150+ accountability and improvement measures," Wethington wrote in an email.Greenberg, the Democratic nominee who co-owns Ohio Valley Wrestling and is the former CEO of 21c Museum Hotels, focused primarily Wednesday on his "Day One" priorities if elected mayor but described Dieruf's remarks as "conspiracy theories.""I heard wild, unhinged allegations," Greenberg said at his own press conference that morning. "What I didn't hear was any solutions or any actions. I'm not focused on my opponent's rants. I'm focused on solutions and actions to move Louisville forward in a new direction, to improve public safety with real policies and real plans."Bourbon news:He learned to make bourbon on YouTube. Now this Kentucky distiller is making big movesWhen Garland announced the DOJ's investigation into Louisville, he did not say if it was prompted by LMPD officers fatally shooting Breonna Taylor in March 2020. Instead, the attorney general said the Justice Department would focus on whether Louisville police:Used unreasonable force, including during peaceful protests;  Engaged in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, including unlawful search warrant executions on private residences;  Discriminated against people based on race; and Failed to provide public services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. DOJ investigations into other cities and their police departments often result in consent decrees that can take years to enforce.Greenberg said he plans on using any consent decree "as a framework for moving forward in a new direction."Dieruf, who earned the endorsement of the various Fraternal Order of Police lodges in Jefferson County, said Tuesday he would follow any consent decree in place if elected."You have to. That’s the law. I would follow the law," Dieruf said. "I will not tell the officers not to follow the law.”Reporter Joe Sonka contributed to this story. Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com.

Charles Booker documentary, produced by actress Alyssa Milano, opens Friday

By |2022-09-15T23:10:05-04:00September 15th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Two-time U.S. Senate candidate Charles Booker is the focus of a documentary about his original 2020 run for Congress that opens in select theaters Friday and was executive-produced by actors Alyssa Milano and Michael Shannon.Milano is known for TV shows like "Charmed" and "Who's the Boss?", as well as her efforts as a Democratic activist. Shannon is an Academy Award-nominated actor who's originally from Lexington.The new film is named after Booker's signature slogan, "From the Hood to the Holler." His memoir, which came out in April, shares the same name. (His advocacy group is likewise called "Hood to the Holler.")Booker's motto is meant to signify the common bonds and shared struggles of Kentuckians from rural and urban areas. He used it in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell two years ago, as well as in his current campaign to defeat RepublicanSen. Rand Paul in November.More:Here's how Charles Booker can beat Rand PaulHe narrowly lost the 2020 Democratic primary to Amy McGrath, a fundraising powerhouse who was the frontrunner in that race. (McConnell drubbed McGrath in that fall's election.)Booker got national attention and an unexpected surge of support in the primary's final weeks, though, as he joined Louisville's historic racial justice protests denouncing the police killing of Breonna Taylor and the broader, long-lasting pattern of police violence against Black Americans.The new documentary tells the story of that campaign and has won awards at several film festivals, per a news release. It's opening Friday in Los Angeles, New York City and select theaters. It will be available on digital platforms Sept. 30.There also will be two guests-only screenings in Louisville on Thursday, which aren't open to the public.Morgan Watkins is The Courier Journal's chief political reporter. Contact her at mwatkins@courierjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26.

Louisville mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg says he'd skirt law by making guns 'inoperable'

By |2022-09-14T16:54:12-04:00September 14th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Louisville mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg said Wednesday that, if elected, he would get around Kentucky's seized firearms auction law by having police make the firearms unusable before handing them over to the state."It is absurd and dangerous that our law enforcement spends thousands of hours, and millions of taxpayers' dollars, to get guns off our streets only to see them return to terrorize our neighborhoods," the Democrat said at a press conference announcing his "Day One" priorities.Kentucky state law requires Louisville Metro Police to send confiscated firearms to Kentucky State Police, which does not destroy them but sells them at auctions. The Courier Journal reported on that policy last year in its "Awash in Guns" investigation.Greenberg said he would have the city still send the guns to Frankfort "but only after they have been rendered inoperative," noting that state statutes do not specify the guns must remain operable.Greenberg was speaking inside the building at 1201 Story Ave., where seven months ago to the day, police say Quintez Brown, a former Courier Journal intern and University of Louisville student, shot at Greenberg and several campaign staff. Brown faces federal and state charges in the case.Greenberg, who is facing Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf in his bid to become Louisville's mayor, said other priorities on his first day in charge would include "protecting the rights and safety of women and girls," condemning Kentucky's ban on abortion with no rape or incest exceptions and pledging to step up "efforts to combat family and domestic violence."'A new phenomenon':Modified guns are turning up in Louisville at alarming ratesGreenberg also reiterated campaign pledges to build 15,000 new affordable housing units in his first term, clean up Louisville's "trash, graffiti and abandoned cars" and support "clean and healthy parks and green spaces."Other priorities include having a "fully staffed police force," increasing support for minority-owned businesses, establishing universal prekindergarten in Louisville, modernizing the city's planning and zoning process and "opening real grocery stores" in the West End and downtown.He also touched again on the Department of Justice's "pattern-or-practice" investigation into LMPD and Metro Government.When U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the DOJ's investigation into Louisville, he did not say whether it was prompted by LMPD officers fatally shooting Breonna Taylor in March 2020. Instead, Garland said the DOJ would focus on whether Louisville police:Used unreasonable force, including during peaceful protests;  Engaged in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, including unlawful search warrant executions on private residences;  Discriminated against people based on race; and Failed to provide public services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. DOJ investigations into other cities and their police departments often result in consent decrees that can take years to enforce.Greenberg said he plans on using any consent decree "as a framework for moving forward in a new direction."Dieruf, who this week called for the U.S. Department of Justice to release its investigative report into Louisville and its police department before the election, responded in a statement that criticized his opponent."There are several statements that are familiar to me — because they’re mine. He’s copying my proven leadership to try to prove that he is more capable at running a city than he actually is," Dieruf said. "... He also uses the term Day One throughout the document. I have been using Ready Day One in my campaign for more than a year."On the fundraising front, Dieruf's report Wednesday on the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance website showed he had raised roughly $354,000 since July and now has about $428,000 on hand, while Greenberg's campaign was having reporting issues with the site but said it has raised $1.2 million since July, with about $979,000 on hand.And a new, unauthorized campaign committee formed in September that is branding itself as "Democrats for Dieruf, with former Kentucky Attorney General Chris Gorman appearing Wednesday in a video on the group's Twitter page to describe Dieruf "as one of the finest public servants I've known in my life."Asked about Democrats for Dieruf and whether it concerns him, Greenberg replied, "no.""I’m proud to have the support of people from across the entire city," Greenberg said Wednesday morning, "people from every political party, people who aren’t affiliating with political parties."Reporter Joe Sonka contributed to this story. Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com.

Trial for ex-LMPD Detective Brett Hankison in Breonna Taylor case delayed nearly a year

By |2022-09-14T16:54:13-04:00September 14th, 2022|Breonna Taylor|

Former Louisville police Detective Brett Hankison is set for trial Aug. 21, 2023, on charges that he violated the civil rights of Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend and three neighbors on the night in 2020 when she was killed by another officer during a raid gone bad. Hankison had been scheduled for trial next month, but during a pretrial conference Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville, he waived his right to a speedy trial. Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings said the trial could last as long as four weeks. Hankison is charged with usingexcessiveforce by firing blindly into Taylor’s apartment on March 13, 2020, through a sliding glass door and a window that were covered by curtains. Breonna Taylor case:LMPD cop hid info that Taylor's boyfriend was at apartment, had gun permit, government saysHe was acquitted of wanton endangerment in state court but is charged with violating the civil rights of Taylor, her boyfriend, KennethWalker, and three neighbors – including a pregnant woman and 5-year-old child, whose apartment was struck by his bullets. He was charged federally in August in an indictment separate than the one accusing Sgt. Kyle Meany and Detectives Joshua Jaynes and Kelly Goodlett of fabricating a warrant for the search and other offenses. Goodlett has pleaded guiltyand resigned while Meany, Jaynes and Hankison were fired. Hankison appeared Wednesday with new counsel − Jack Byrd of Nashville, Tennessee, and Ibrahim A. Farag of Louisville. Hankison was fired in 2020 when then-interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder called the rounds he fired "a shock to the conscience." What you should know:Which officers face federal charges in the Breonna Taylor case:Hankison, who was an officer for 17 years, testified in Jefferson Circuit Court he was trying to protect two fellow detectives at the apartment’s front door, including Sgt. John Mattingly, who was shot in the leg by Walker, who has said he thought the couple were being robbed. Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove returned fire and a bullet from Cosgrove’s gun hit Taylor, killing her.Andrew Wolfson: 502-582-7189; awolfson@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @adwolfson.

Louisville mayor candidate Bill Dieruf demands DOJ release LMPD report as soon as possible

By |2022-09-14T16:54:16-04:00September 14th, 2022|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

Louisville mayoral candidates Bill Dieruf and Craig Greenberg held back-to-back news conferences this week that focused on different issues, with the Republican zeroing in on the looming U.S. Department of Justice investigative report into Louisville and its police department and the Democrat covering his "Day One" priorities.Dieruf spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon in Jefferson Square Park, the hub of 2020's racial justice protests. The sole purpose of his presser was to demand the DOJ release its "pattern-or-practice" findings concerning Louisville Metro Police and Metro Government "as soon as possible."Last week, Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Erika Shields made the media rounds to share how the DOJ's report on the Louisville investigation, which Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in April 2021, is expected "within weeks". They stressed that the city and police department have "not waited" on implementing over 100 reforms.Another Kansas?Kentucky abortion amendment fight brings millions for opposing groups"They know this report from the Department of Justice will be a damning indictment of their leadership and that of their predecessors," Dieruf said Tuesday. "This is nothing more than a last-minute attempt to distract us from their failures by pointing to changes that have done nothing to address the root cause of the problem."In addition to calling on the DOJ to release their report soon, he asked Fischer, Shields and their administration to publicly release "all briefings and communications they’ve received from the Department of Justice concerning the report’s preliminary findings.""It is absolutely imperative that the report be released to the public before the election on November 8, so that the voters may be fully informed," added Dieruf, currently the mayor of suburban Jeffersontown. "It’s clear that Mayor Fischer will attempt to do as he has done so many times in the past — stonewall, stall, cover up and blame others for the critical findings of the Department of Justice. Only by doing so can he protect Craig Greenberg, his hand-picked successor."Fischer's spokeswoman, Jessica Wethington, told The Courier Journal the DOJ "will release their report when they are ready to do so.""We have not seen the report or any findings, and as has been shared with the public, the Mayor and the Louisville Metro Police Department have not waited on the Department of Justice to begin implementation of 150+ accountability and improvement measures," Wethington wrote in an email.Greenberg, the Democratic nominee who co-owns Ohio Valley Wrestling and is the former CEO of 21c Museum Hotels, focused primarily Wednesday on his "Day One" priorities if elected mayor but described Dieruf's remarks as "conspiracy theories.""I heard wild, unhinged allegations," Greenberg said at his own press conference that morning. "What I didn't hear was any solutions or any actions. I'm not focused on my opponent's rants. I'm focused on solutions and actions to move Louisville forward in a new direction, to improve public safety with real policies and real plans."Bourbon news:He learned to make bourbon on YouTube. Now this Kentucky distiller is making big movesWhen Garland announced the DOJ's investigation into Louisville, he did not say if it was prompted by LMPD officers fatally shooting Breonna Taylor in March 2020. Instead, the attorney general said the DOJ would focus on whether the department:Used unreasonable force, including during peaceful protests;  Engaged in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, including unlawful search warrant executions on private residences;  Discriminated against people based on race; and Failed to provide public services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. DOJ investigations into other cities and their police departments often result in consent decrees that can take years to enforce.Greenberg said he plans on using any consent decree "as a framework for moving forward in a new direction."Dieruf, who earned the endorsement of the various Fraternal Order of Police lodges in Jefferson County, said Tuesday he would follow any consent decree in place if he wins the election and takes office in January."You have to. That’s the law. I would follow the law," Dieruf said. "I will not tell the officers not to follow the law.”Reporter Joe Sonka contributed to this story. Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com.

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