Louisville mayor orders independent review after two police shootings

Louisville mayor orders independent review after two police shootings
© getty: Police in riot gear stand in formation during protests in Louisville, Kentucky.

The mayor of Louisville, Ky., ordered an independent review of the city’s police department following two recent police shootings of black residents. 

Mayor Greg Fischer (D) announced Wednesday that he is issuing a request for a “comprehensive, top-to-bottom” review of the city’s police department. 

“Louisville Metro Government as a whole is focused on continuous improvement,” the mayor said in a statement. “As we begin a search for a new police chief, this seems like a very good time to review the policies, procedures and structure of our police department to ensure that it aligns with the goals and values of our entire community.”

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The review of the department will focus on a number of areas including training in use of force and bias-free policing, as well as accountability, supervision and community engagement, according to the city. 

Acting Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the review is meant “to ensure we are utilizing best practices and sound policies and procedures in all aspects of our work.” 

Fischer said Monday the city has started searching for a new permanent police chief. 

Fischer’s push for a review of the department comes as the city and state are investigating two recent police shootings that led to the deaths of black Louisville residents, and as residents in Louisville join thousands across the country in protests over police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last week. 

Fischer earlier this month called for a “thorough investigation” into the case of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified EMT, who was fatally shot in her apartment by city police. Officials said the officers were executing a drug warrant when they entered Taylor’s home and she was asleep, The Louisville Courier Journal reported citing a lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family. 

The suit alleges officers executed a search warrant at Taylor’s home while looking for a man who did not live in her apartment complex. 

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Gov. Andy Beshear (D) earlier this week said he ordered state police to investigate a separate fatal shooting in Louisville that killed David McAtee, a 53-year-old restaurant owner who was killed early Monday as protests in the city were taking place. 

Police and the National Guard were responding to reports of a crowd that had gathered at a grocery store next to McAtee’s barbecue shack. 

The police department released new video footage Tuesday that they said shows the restaurant owner shot at officers before he was killed. Schroeder, however, underscored his comments by saying the video “does not provide all the answers.” 

Fischer said Monday that officers present at the shooting and members of the National Guard did not have their body cameras activated at the time.