(USA Features) The Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights is launching an investigation of the Louisville, Ky., police department over the death of Breonna Taylor about a year after she was shot to death during a drug raid.
Following her death, Taylor became one of several young blacks who served as a rallying cry for left-wing organizations like Black Lives Matter.
Taylor was killed after police used a battering ram to break down the door to her apartment after reportedly announcing their presence. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, reportedly fired at officers, who returned fire, striking and killing Taylor.
One officer was wounded by a bullet allegedly fired by Walker.
Last year, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is black, said a neighbor corroborated the department’s claims that officers only entered after announcing their presence.
Nevertheless, on Monday Attorney General Merrick Garland said the DoJ will be conducting a “pattern of practice investigation into the department.
“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,” he said.
“As in every Justice Department investigation we will follow the facts and the law, wherever they lead,” Garland noted further. “If there is reasonable cause to believe that there was a pattern or practice of constitutional or statutory violations, we will issue a public report of our conclusions.”
Kentucky lawmakers passed legislation last month that partially bans no-knock warrants unless there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the “crime alleged is a crime that would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender.” Warrants also must be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Last week, Garland announced a similar investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department following the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin who was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in connection with George Floyd’s death.
“It is clear that the public officials in Minneapolis and Louisville, including those in law enforcement, recognize the importance and urgency of our efforts,” Garland said. “We come to them as partners, knowing that we share a common aim.”