Louisville native Jamon Brown retires from football, helping build empowerment center

By |2021-07-26T20:20:33-04:00July 26th, 2021|Breonna Taylor, COVID-19, David McAtee|

The UofL grad and six-year NFL veteran said he wants to focus on helping his community. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jamon Brown sat back in a stool at the SuperChefs bar and thought for a moment. The former University of Louisville standout considered what he would tell a younger version of himself after 62 NFL games over six seasons. "No one man is an island," Brown said. "So you must draw your strength from others." The 28-year-old carries that quote from a former offensive line coach as he enters retirement from football. Brown said he started thinking about this decision after the Atlanta Falcons released him last August.   The offensive lineman was drafted by the then St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, later playing for the New York Giants, Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. He finished his sixth and final year in the NFL with Philadelphia, who released him from their practice squad following a violation of team rules in December 2020. Then in January, he had a second child, further pushing him to hang up his cleats. "When you're in the league, you never know when that time is going to come," Brown said. "Football is time-consuming. And I was in the space of how do you want to go about the next year?" The answer to that comes off of the field. The West End native was very involved in protests surrounding the police killings of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, which further sparked his desire to help the community more. He has also participated in a conference call with Louisville's FBI field office and spoken with Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer. All of this started to weigh on him during his last NFL season. "That's when I kind of shifted my focus," Brown said. "I was focusing on football and of course focusing on the preparation. But our city had been hit with some tragedy, man. So I was trying to figure out, like always, how do I help? That really kind of woke me up and I marched into a new mindset: bringing light, opportunity and change in ways that we need it." It's been a goal of the Fern Creek High School alumnus ever since becoming a pro. He's spearheaded the Jamon Brown Foundation, which aims "to impact the lives of those struggling with poverty, violence, and youth homelessness, to improve upon the education and healthy living issues that are typically prevalent in at-risk areas, while influencing others to do the same." Most recently, Brown received ESPN Louisville’s ESPY Humanitarian Hometown Hero award for his work in the community last year. He's worked with the Coalition for the Homeless, started a fundraiser for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and more. "Football was my legacy," Brown said. "But it's not anything that I can pass to my son or anything anyone else could really grab ahold of and use for their benefit. That's where the opportunity to shift out of that and then leave significance for other people's lives became more interesting to me." Be the change you can see!! https://t.co/G7m6HzVZn0— Jamon Brown (@JB_The_GREAT_68) June 30, 2020 His next step in doing that is opening what he calls an empowerment center in the West End. Brown's foundation is partnering with Russell: A Place of Promise and Cities United to build the facility that will feature educational, recreational and professional resources for those in need. "There's a lot of tradition that goes on down there," Brown said. "The things that really trigger me about that is the lack of light. When I look in that neighborhood, there's not a movie theater. There's not a skating rink. There's not different luxuries that you see in other parts of the community." Brown grew up on 39th Street with his mother and two siblings. While walking down the street and showing it to WHAS11, many memories rush back to his mind: being chased by dogs through a couple of alleys, needing to print Dragon Ball Z pictures off at the nearby Shawnee Library because he didn't have a color printer and throwing lackluster progress reports in a neighbor's yard them to hide from his family. "I don't know mom, I didn't get mine," Brown recalled with a laugh. "My brother got his, my sister got hers. But for some reason, our class didn't get ours." When Brown visited with WHAS11, he was stopped by a man asking who he was. After explaining his transition from the NFL to retirement, Brown was asked for help. "It ain't just because of who you are, it's where you're from," the man said. "You know how it is." Brown understood, giving the man his phone number. He said he wants more people to come and take that walk around his neighborhood to see what he sees: people who take pride in their home and what needs to be done to help them. "There is friendliness, there is camaraderie," Brown said. "But the necessities that are really needed to help the community flourish are what's lacking." It brings him back to that quote sticking in his head: "No one man is an island. So you must draw your strength from others." As he enters this next phase of his life, Brown is acting to demonstrate what it means.  "Build the team that you have now," Brown said. "And that's what I have. That's what helped me feel confident in transitioning and walking away from football." WHAS11 will have more on Brown's story at 11 p.m. RELATED: A scoop of love, a sprinkle of kindness: Local company, NFL player Jamon Brown tackle community needs in West Louisville RELATED: UofL baseball's Henry Davis makes history; becomes school's first No. 1 overall pick in MLB Draft [embedded content] ►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users. 

Artist repairs vandalized Breonna Taylor mural and adds a new face as well

By |2021-07-26T01:21:15-04:00July 25th, 2021|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS UNIT AND NEW TONIGHT A MURAL HONORING BREONNA TAYLOR AND DAVID MCATEE WAS REPAIRED AFTER IT WAS VANDALIZED EARLIER THIS SUMMER THE SAY THEIR NAMES MURAL AT THE INTERSECTION OF 11TH, AND MAIN SWA COVERED IN BLUE PAINT ARTIST. WHITNEY. HOLBURN HAS NOT ONLY FIXED THE MURAL BUT HAS ADDED ANOTHER FACE. WELL KNOWN LOCAL PROTESTER TRAVIS NODDY WAS ADDED TO THE MURAL. NAJDIAS W KILLED IN A SHOOTING IN NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR AND A FACEBOOK. HOLBORN SAID THAT EVERY TIME SOMEONE VANDALIZES THE MURAL SHE WILL FIX IT AND ADD ANOTHER PHAS

'Say Their Name' mural in Louisville repaired, new face added

By |2021-07-25T00:25:44-04:00July 24th, 2021|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

Artist Whitney Holbourn said she not only returned to fix the mural, but add another face: Travis Nagdy. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A mural honoring Breonna Taylor and David McAtee has been repaired after it was vandalized earlier this summer. The "Say Their Names" mural at the intersection of 11th and Main was covered in blue paint just weeks after a different mural of Taylor at Lannan Memorial Park was vandalized. Surveillance footage captured by Trifecta Events Productions shows two people working together to put paint over several faces featured on the mural, including Taylor's and George Floyd's. Artist Whitney Holbourn said she not only returned to fix the mural, but add another face: Travis Nagdy. The 21-year-old who was at the forefront of Louisville's fight for justice died after a shooting in November 2020. "Some people decided to cover their faces in paint, to hide them, so I figured what could be more impactful than adding another face," Holbourn said on Facebook. "We decided to add Travis Nagdy...he was known for carrying his megaphones everywhere, leading chants and raising awareness and bringing the youth to the movement." Holbourn said the mural is worth the work, saying she will return any time the piece is vandalized. "That's the absolute best part of my job is being able to put things up so large that people can’t forget," Holbourn said. "People want to forget, it’s evident when people try to cover them up. But not on my watch." RELATED: 'Art can heal.' | Healing Walls Project, Kroger come together to create mural in west Louisville RELATED: Video released in Breonna Taylor vandalism at Lannan Park; anonymous donor offers $2,500 reward [embedded content] ►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users. Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

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.

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.

3 things to know about the Path Forward plan to create a more equitable Louisville

By |2021-07-20T06:47:38-04:00July 20th, 2021|A Path Forward, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

In June 2020, following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee at the hands of police and National Guard, respectively, Black leaders in Louisville published A Path Forward for Louisville, a petition that outlines changes and solutions to systemic problems and racial disparities in Louisville.Here are three things to know about the document:What changes did the document call for?A Path Forward called for a variety of changes — from police reform, to support for Black business owners, to revamped educational policies, to more affordable housing in the West End.The document referenced the “long and challenging history LMPD has had with Louisville’s Black community” and sought to divest from policing and invest in other first responders, such as social workers, and also create a more diverse — both in race and gender — police force, among other suggested changes.It also called for JCPS to use newly raised money to “increase equity initiatives” and aimed to create a “pipeline of Black educators.”The document further called for “expanded mental health support.” A Path Forward, a year later:How has Louisville responded to racial justice petition?What financial investment does it seek?The document seeks to create a $50 million Black Community Fund “to begin the process of addressing systemic racism in our community.” Framers had hoped the city would fund the $50 million, but it has not, which Lyndon Pryor, the Louisville Urban League’s Chief Engagement Officer, called “a constant disappointment.”The fund has raised some money from donations, however, which have gone to community learning hubs, a business incubator and affordable housing efforts.Who is does it target as needing to act?The petition was addressed to Metro Council President David James and Mayor Greg Fischer, who said the document has informed his administration’s thinking of city priorities. The document also listed Gov. Andy Beshear, other government leaders, Jefferson County Public Schools, financial institutions and many other organizations as needing to act, as well as “you,” the individual resident.Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League and one of the framers of the document, said the document has been largely well received.“I think there are a lot of organizations that are looking to the document to determine how they move forward,” she said.Hayes Gardner can be reached at hgardner@gannett.com; Twitter: @HayesGardner.

The Courier Journal wins 45+ local journalism awards, including Journalist of the Year

By |2021-07-16T06:07:21-04:00July 16th, 2021|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Election 2020|

The Courier Journal won numerous awards Thursday night at the annual Society of Professional Journalists Louisville Pro Chapter 2021 awards ceremony, including Journalist of the Year, awarded to Courier Journal reporters Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall for their coverage of the Breonna Taylor shooting.The judges said “I wish there were a Louisville contest award worthy of the hard work and perseverance of Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall in uncovering major disclosures in the Breonna Taylor slaying: the no-knock clause of the search warrant, the anguished 911 call by Walker and the fact that no medical treatment was given to Taylor. The results were many: no-knock warrants banned, body camera requirements tightened, officers fired. Costello and Duvall (working together like "Woodstein") are your top journalists. Congratulations, Darcy and Tessa.”Courier Journal Editor Mary Irby-Jones said, “I am grateful that the Courier Journal staff was recognized for its tremendous journalism in a year that challenged our entire staff as we covered a global pandemic and racial reckoning sparked by the death of Breonna Taylor.”The Courier Journal is grateful to our peers for recognizing our hard work during what was certainly a very challenging year for our community and our country. These awards are a testament to the commitment and passion that The Courier Journal reporters, editors, visual, and digitals journalists embody as we tell stories that ultimately make our communities a better place. “And we will continue to push for answers, reform and accountability following this horrible tragedy for Breonna's family and the community,” Irby-Jones said.You may like:Courier Journal named Pulitzer Prize finalist twice for coverage of Breonna Taylor slayingThe Courier Journal won more than 45 awards during the ceremony in categories including Breaking News, Health Reporting, Enterprise and Investigative, Education reporting, Politics and government reporting, Personality/profile writing, Sports Column Writing, Editorial Cartoon, General News Photography and more.Journalist of the YearDarcy Costello and Tessa Duvall for coverage on the slaying of Breonna Taylor:First PlaceBest Breaking News Story: Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall, “Grand jury indicts 1 of 3 officers in Breonna Taylor shooting. But not for her death”Best Enterprise / Investigative Reporting: Hayes Gardner and Bailey Loosemore, “BEYOND BREONNA: Systemic racism simmer in Louisville for generations. Then Breonna Taylor died”Health Reporting: Sarah Ladd, “’It’s unbelievable’; 39-year-old veteran and father among Kentucky’s youngest COVID-19 deaths”Government / Politics Reporting: Morgan Watkins, “From apartheid to affirmative action: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s complication history on race”Education Reporting: Mandy McLaren, “Mental health evaluations, remote learning and racial disparities across the district’s PTA bank account”You may like:Courier Journal, ABC News named winner of a Peabody Award for Breonna Taylor documentaryCrime / Courts / Criminal Justice: Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall, “Did Louisville investigators go too easy on police officers in Breonna Taylor shooting?”Editorial Cartoon: Marc Murphy, “Mitch McConnell, Breonna Taylor and health insurance”Best Review / Criticism: Dana McMahan, “Dry January, the Trouble Bar and touring Bourbon Country”Personality / Profile Writing: Kirby Adams, “Paralympians, bourbon experts and a 500-mile walk”Best Feature Writing: Maggie Menderski, “Inches from death, La Grange man spends 95 days in hospital battling COVID-19”Sports Column Writing: Tim Sullivan, “Carlos Dixon, Bob Knight and Scott Satterfield”Sports Feature Writing: Dominique Yates, “From foster care to football star: How this DeSales star shaped himself into a DI recruit”Sports Reporting: Jon Hale, “Why did it take so long for Adolph Rupp to sign a Black player?”General News photography: Michael Clevenger, “Together. Forever.”Sports Action photography: Michael Clevenger, “Derby 146”Sports Feature photography: Michael Clevenger, “Under Water”Best Picture Story: Michael Clevenger, “Say Her Name: Protests in Louisville”Best Special Section: Jennifer Williams, “Kentucky Derby 146”Best Graphic / Illustration: Jennifer Williams, “Suicides and Secrets: The false cure of conversion therapy and how I accepted myself as gay”Best page design news/business: Kyle Slagle, “Women of the Movement”

David McAtee slaying: Police action marred by ‘poor communication,’ confusion and mistakes

By |2021-07-15T17:37:30-04:00July 15th, 2021|David McAtee|

This content is only available to subscribers.$1 for 6 months. Save 98%.Subscribe NowYour subscription supports:Investigative reporting that has protected Kentuckiana taxpayers and made a difference in Louisville for 150 years.Unparalleled coverage of Kentuckiana's high school teams, the Cardinals, Wildcats, ACC & SEC sports.We're your guide to eating, drinking and having fun – from the Bourbon Trail to Louisville's growing night life.Daily newsletter with top news to know.Mobile apps including immersive storytelling.

'I'm going off' Video shows LMPD officers turning off body cameras

By |2021-07-15T12:57:28-04:00July 15th, 2021|David McAtee|

'I'm going off' Video shows LMPD officers turning off body camerasNews Sports Life Opinion USA TODAY Obituaries E-Edition Legals A review of body camera footage from the night David McAtee was killed found that many officers turned their cameras off intentionally to discuss the incident that night, and many more didn't have them on at all.Kala Kachmar & Jeff Faughender Kala Kachmar & Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier JournalWatch Next  © 2021 www.courier-journal.com. All rights reserved.

LMPD officers confused, frustrated at scene of David McAtee shooting

By |2021-07-15T12:57:32-04:00July 15th, 2021|David McAtee|

LMPD officers confused, frustrated at scene of David McAtee shootingNews Sports Life Opinion USA TODAY Obituaries E-Edition Legals A review of over 1,000 minutes of body camera footage shows LMPD officers were confused, frustrated and fatigued on the night David McAtee was killed.Kala Kachmar & Jeff Faughender Kala Kachmar & Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier JournalWatch Next  © 2021 www.courier-journal.com. All rights reserved.

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