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The Justice Department will launch an investigation into the city of Louisville, Ky., and its police department to determine if there is a pattern of discrimination or excessive force within its ranks, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Monday.
The investigation marks the launch of the second such “pattern or practice” investigation since Garland took over as attorney general and comes more than a year after the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville fueled worldwide protests against police violence and racial injustice.
“The investigation will assess whether LMPD [Louisville Metro Police Department] engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force, including with respect to people involved in peaceful, expressive activities,” Garland said.
“It will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician, was shot and killed in her home last March by Louisville police officers as they attempted an early morning narcotics raid on her apartment.
Taylor was not the subject of the warrant, nor was the suspect at Taylor’s home.
The city settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Taylor’s family in September for $12 million. The settlement included a series of police reforms. Louisville had earlier also banned no-knock warrants.
One of the officers involved in the killing was fired by the department last year. The city’s police department said Officer Brett Hankison “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
Monday’s announcement follows the launch of a similar “pattern or practice” investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department last Wednesday. That move came a day after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on murder charges for the death of George Floyd.