Louisville Metro Council announced Monday that it will launch an investigation into how Mayor Greg Fischer handled the deadly police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician was shot eight times in her home this spring in a botched drug raid conducted by Louisville Metro police officers. So far, no charges have been pressed against any of the officers, and only one—former officer Brett Hankison—has been fired from the force.
As USA Today reports, the scope of the probe will include the events leading up to and immediately following Taylor’s killing on March 13: the lack of transparency surrounding the investigation; LMPD use of force on Black Lives Matter protesters during weeks of demonstrations; and the killing of Louisville restaurant owner David McAtee, who was fatally shot by National Guard soldiers who had been called in to enforce a citywide curfew.
The city’s Government Oversight Committee will conduct the investigation—council leadership noted that the committee has subpoena powers, theoretically making it more difficult for Fischer’s administration to avoid participating in the probe.
“The citizens of this community, including members of this Metro Council, have been very upset with the perceived lack of transparency by the city,” said Council chairperson Brent Ackerson on Monday. “It’s our intention, as a committee, to formally begin an investigation, to bring people in and get legitimate answers and legitimate documentation.”
The decision follows what has been a drawn-out and frustrating response by city and state officials to Taylor’s killing. The case now sits with state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who has yet to bring charges against any of the officers who raided Taylor’s home and shot at both her and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
Taylor’s violent death at the hands of the state—as well as many other similar cases around the country—helped galvanize Louisville protesters in the city to demand radical changes to city policing.
Louisville Metro Council had the clearest line of sight to begin the process of transformative change in the city by responding to protesters’ demands to defund the police but opted not to take it. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Louisville recently decided to fully fund the LMPD, but will sub out money used for “crowd control” (that is, riot gear) and redirect it toward “recruiting a more diverse force, additional training and exploring co-responder models,” writes the paper.
Louisville Metro calls these steps police “reform”—despite the fact that “diverse” police forces like Baltimore PD, where Black officers made up 42 percent of the force in 2016, can still be hotbeds for corruption and abuse.
One Metro Council member, Brandon Coan, proposed cutting LMPD’s budget by 15 percent, but expressed disappointment that the council did not engage in “any serious discussion about the police operating budget in the context of a broader public safety system.”
The council will not meet again until July 23.