United States Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a civil investigation into Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Metro Police Department Monday.
Garland said the Justice Department would investigate whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing at LMPD. The investigation will determine whether LMPD unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes, uses unreasonable force, or engages in unconstitutional stops, searches, and seizures
The investigation will be led by the Civil Rights Division — and will include a comprehensive review of LMPD’s policies and training, as well as assessing the effectiveness of the department’s supervision and systems of accountability. Garland said Mayor Greg Fischer and Chief Erika Shields have pledged their cooperation throughout the investigation.
“We will follow the facts and the law wherever they lead,” Garland said.
If there is reasonable cause to believe any violations, the DOJ will issue a public report. The department will then work with the city and LMPD to determine steps to correct and prevent unlawful patterns or practices.
LMPD has been a national focus since the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Louisville native killed when officers executed a search warrant at her apartment in March 2020. Six months later, a Jefferson County grand jury decided not to indict any officers directly for Taylor’s death.
Only one officer involved in the shooting has been charged — former detective Brett Hankison is accused of firing multiple shots into a nearby apartment the night of Taylor’s death. Hankison and two other officers connected to the raid have been fired from LMPD.
Garland just last week announced a “pattern or practice” investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.