The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday it is launching a civil investigation of the Louisville Metro Police Department, more than a year after three white LMPD officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor after breaking into her apartment with a no-knock warrant while she slept. Police fired 32 bullets at Taylor, a Black 26-year-old emergency medical technician and nursing student, and her boyfriend, six of which hit Taylor. “I can’t wait for the world to see [the] Louisville Police Department for what it really is,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, tweeted after the announcement. The “pattern or practice” investigation will seek to determine whether the LMPD engaged in systemic abuses and unlawful tactics with little accountability and marks the opening of the second such investigation in just five days, following DOJ’s opening of a similar investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The City of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family a $12 million settlement, but none of the officers have been charged in her death. One of the officers, however, has been charged for firing shots that entered a neighboring apartment. Taylor’s killing fueled the massive racial justice protests ignited by the murder of George Floyd about two months later. The DOJ investigation also comes as Washington Post reporting shows how police groups and politicians frequently undermine civilian review boards’ ability to assess police actions, ensure accountability, and implement changes. (The Grio, The Root, NewsOne, Washington Post $, AP, New York Times $, NPR, CNN, NBC, USA Today; Civilian review boards: Washington Post $)