Serious allegations against Louisville police

In March 2020, black Breonna Taylor was killed in a police operation in Louisville.

The US Department of Justice then investigated the practices of the police there – and now accuses them of serious violations of fundamental rights.

About three years after the death of 26-year-old black woman Breonna Taylor in a police operation in Louisville, the US Department of Justice has completed an investigation into police practices there. In it, the ministry raises serious allegations, including accusing the police of violating fundamental rights.

The allegations made as a result of the investigation are directed against both the local government of Louisville, Kentucky, and the city’s Metro Police Department. In its report, the Justice Department speaks of a “pattern of conduct or practice” that “deprives people of their rights under the Constitution and federal law.”

Allegations of excessive violence and discrimination

According to the Department of Justice, police officers have repeatedly violated both civil rights and principles of the US Constitution. According to the final report, officials sometimes used excessive force, carried out house searches without a legal basis or restricted the right to freedom of expression. In addition, the police are said to have discriminated against black citizens in some cases and thus violated the law.

“This behavior is unacceptable,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said. These have undermined “the community’s trust” in the police force and are “an affront to the vast majority of officers who risk their lives every day” to serve the people of Louisville.

A “certain justification” – but too late

The investigation began after Taylor’s violent death in March 2020. Apparently without warning, three police officers had broken open the door to the paramedic’s apartment with a battering ram on the basis of a search warrant. The friend of the 26-year-old assumed a burglary and shot the officers. A bullet hit one of the police officers in the leg. The emergency services also opened fire – they are said to have fired more than 30 shots in total. Taylor was hit multiple times and died from the gunshot wounds.

Lonita Baker called the findings of the investigation “encouraging”. She represents Tamika Palmer, mother of the killed 26-year-old, as a lawyer. At the same time, she sharply criticized that Breonna Taylor had to die and that it had taken so many protests to get to this point since 2020. Taylor’s mother made a similar statement herself. She was angry that it had taken so long to feel some justification.

The criminal investigation into Taylor’s death is still ongoing. So there is the suspicion that the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment is based on partially falsified information. Officially, the officers involved carried out a drug raid. However, no traces of drugs were found in the apartment.

Similar investigation announced in Memphis

Taylor’s death, like that of black George Floyd, contributed to the mass protests against racism and police violence in the United States. The 26-year-old became one of the symbolic figures of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

The Department of Justice has now announced that it will also investigate the practices of the Memphis Police Department in the state of Tennessee. The occasion is the death of Tire Nichols. The 29-year-old black man was beaten up by several police officers during a traffic stop on January 7th. He died of his injuries in hospital three days later.

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