Louisville on Lockdown: Police Declare a State of Emergency Ahead of Kentucky AG’s Decision on Whether Officers Involved in Breonna Taylor’s Shooting Death Will Be Charged
Megan Sheets and the Associated Press, Daily Mail, September 21, 2020
Louisville police have declared a state of emergency ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s announcement about whether he will charge officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
Interim Chief of Police Robert Schroeder said the declaration will remain in effect ‘until further notice’ in a memo to the entire Louisville Metro Police Department on Monday.
City staff set to work putting up barricades in downtown Louisville and boarding up police buildings and courthouses in anticipation for protests that may erupt in the wake of Cameron’s decision.
In a statement released publicly after Schroeder’s internal memo, Sgt Lamont Washington said officers’ off-day and vacation requests have been cancelled.
Washington noted that Cameron has said there is no timetable for his announcement, but the extensive police department preparations suggest that it is coming soon.
It’s been over six months since 26-year-old Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 by officers who stormed into her home with a no-knock narcotics warrant.
The EMT’s death set off weeks of protests, policy changes and a call for the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers who performed the raid to be criminally charged.
One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was fired for ‘blindly’ firing 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment from outside.
The other two, John Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, remain on the force on administrative assignment.
On Monday the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that an internal LMPD probe is looking into whether six officers involved in Taylor’s death violated department policies.
Last week officials announced that four federal buildings identified by the Department of Homeland Security as ‘high risk’ targets would be closed from September 21 to 25 in anticipation of protests following Cameron’s announcement.
Those buildings include Louisville’s federal Gene Snyder US Courthouse & Customhouse, the Romano L Mazzoli Federal Building, the US Attorney’s Office building and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement building.
Also last week, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family a record-breaking $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit that her mother Tamika Palmer filed against the city and its police department back in April.
In addition to the $12million, the settlement will also include a series of police reforms for Louisville.
Among the reforms is a requirement that police commanders must approve all search warrants before they are sent to a judge.
The city has already taken some reform measures, including passing a law named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.
Fischer fired former police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief. Gentry would be the first Black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers.