Louisville seeks US review of police killing of black woman

Posted at 6:46 AM, May 18, 2020 and last updated 10:00 PM, May 31, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville officials have now asked the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI to review the police department’s internal investigation of the killing of a black woman by officers raiding her home two months ago.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad announced their request for additional federal help on Thursday. They said the results would be forwarded along with the findings of the police integrity unit to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also called for an outside review into the killing of Breonna Taylor, who was shot eight times on March 13 by police who broke through her apartment door while serving a no-knock search warrant for a suspect in a drug investigation. Her boyfriend allegedly fired first, hitting an officer.

The death of the 26-year-old emergency medical technician sparked a national uproar and calls for federal intervention.

“My priority is always that the truth comes out,” the mayor said. “We can be transparent with the people of our city. And we can and we must also talk about the relationship between our police and our communities of color: past, present and future.”

The police review is going to the state’s attorney general since the county’s prosecutor, Thomas Wine, recused himself from the case, a statement by the mayor’s office said.

Wine also asked state officials to appoint a special prosecutor for the case on Wednesday to avoid a conflict of interest since he is prosecuting Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, for the shooting of the officer. A lawyer for Walker said he fired in self-defense because the officers did not announce themselves, a point disputed by Louisville police.

“One reason the news of this case hits people so hard is because it reopens old wounds – the history of racism and the mistreatment of people of color in our community,” said Fischer.

Kendall Boyd, the director of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, said city officials have put together an initiative, the Synergy Project, to have constructive dialogues about the “strained” and “broken” historical relationship between police and communities of color.

“Everybody gets to say their truth,” Boyd said.