The North Star has dropped its paywall during this COVID-19 crisis so that pertinent information and analysis is available to everyone during this time. This is only possible because of the generous support of our members. We rely on these funds to pay our staff to continue to provide high-quality content. If you are able to support, we invite you to do so here.
Louisville Police officials declared “a state of emergency” and canceled all days off as the city prepares for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s decision regarding the Breonna Taylor case. The announcement comes after reports that six officers are under investigation by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) for their involvement in the raid that left Taylor dead.
LMPD interim Chief Robert Schroeder spoke to reporters on Sept. 22 about the closing of several downtown streets, The Louisville Courier Journal reported. The restrictions include vehicle barricades around Jefferson Square Park, the site of daily protests, access limits to parking garages downtown, parking limits and restrictions to vehicle traffic between Market Street south to Broadway and from 2nd Street to Roy Wilkins.
Schroeder said the department does not know when Cameron’s decision will come, though it is expected this week. The Republican attorney general will announce whether the three LMPD officers who fired into Taylor’s apartment and killed her will be charged.
The interim police chief acknowledged the restrictions were an inconvenience for the city’s residents and apologized to those who viewed them as a lockdown.
“We recognize that this is an inconvenience, and will cause difficulty for those that live, work and have business downtown, and we apologize for this inconvenience,” LMPD said in a statement cited by WLKY. “However, public safety is our number one priority and it would be irresponsible if we did not take preemptive action to preserve it.”
While LMPD is restricting vehicular access, pedestrian access is allowed to the park. Jefferson Square Park has been the site of ongoing protests as demonstrators demand justice for Taylor and for the officer’s responsible to be charged. The Courier-Journal reported that only a few people were gathered at the park, but large crowds of protesters are expected when Cameron announces his decision.
Officers Under Investigation
The state of emergency and restrictions downtown came after the LMPD confirmed that six of its officers are under investigation by the department’s Professional Standards Unit for their role in the deadly raid. The department did not confirm which policy violations it is investigating but the investigation could result in disciplinary action against the officers, The Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The new investigation involves detectives Myles Cosgrove, Joshua Jaynes, Tony James, Michael Campbell and Michael Nobles, as well as Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly. The Courier-Journal reported that all the officers, with the exception of Jaynes, were at Taylor’s apartment the night of the deadly shooting. Mattingly also identified an officer who is not under investigation: Lt. Shawn Hoover, the newspaper noted.
Three white officers were conducting a “no-knock warrant” on March 13 as part of a drug raid when Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot at who he believed to be intruders. Cosgrove, Mattingly and former Detective Brett Hankison returned fire and struck Taylor multiple times, killing her. Hankison was later fired for “blindly” firing his weapon into the apartment.
Taylor and Walker were asleep when officers broke down the front door of the apartment. Though the officers claimed they knocked on her door and announced their presence, Walker disputed that claim. The 27-year-old was initially charged after striking Mattingly in the thigh, severing his femoral artery, but those charges were later dropped.
The investigation by the Professional Standards Unit is separate from the probe conducted by LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit, which sent its findings to Cameron to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against the officers, the Courier-Journal noted. Cameron could bring the case to a grand jury, which could then indict the officers.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.
Photo credit: Steve Sanchez Photos (Shutterstock)