Kentucky police slammed as racist by probe into 2020 Breonna Taylor killing

LOUISVILLE: Police in Kentucky have engaged in a pattern of racist abuse for years, involving excessive force and illegal searches, a US Justice Department probe found Wednesday (Mar 8), following a botched raid that killed a Black medical technician and fuelled nationwide protests.

Officers shot dead Breonna Taylor in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in March 2020, in one of a series of high-profile killings that exposed police brutality and discrimination against African Americans.

The searing conclusions of the Justice Department probe found Louisville police “practiced an aggressive style of policing that it deploys selectively, especially against Black people.”

“Some officers have videotaped themselves throwing drinks at pedestrians from their cars; insulted people with disabilities; and called Black people ‘monkeys,’ ‘animal,’ and ‘boy’,” it added.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland, who announced the investigation in April 2021, said Wednesday that the conduct of the Louisville police department “undermined its public safety mission and strained its relationship with the community it’s meant to protect and serve.”

The probe also accused police of unjustified neck restraints and unreasonable use of dogs and tasers.

Garland, speaking in Kentucky alongside Louisville’s mayor, announced that his agency had signed an agreement with the city to “negotiate a legally binding consent decree” – which would create a legal requirement for Louisville to enact reforms.


“By entering into this agreement, the city and police department have taken a critical step forward and shown their commitment to moving expeditiously to implement reforms,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician was shot dead after three plainclothes policemen executing a drugs-related search warrant burst into her apartment in the middle of the night.

Her boyfriend exchanged fire with the officers, who he said he thought were intruders. Police fired more than 30 shots and Taylor was struck at least five times.

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