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Two former Louisville Metro Police officers have been convicted of federal civil rights violations after throwing drinks from their unmarked squad cars at people in Louisville's West End, with one of the officers also pleading guilty to additional cyberstalking charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bryan Andrew Wilson, 36, and Curt Flynn, 40, both pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Louisville pedestrians through arbitrary use of force. Wilson also pleaded guilty in the cyberstalking case, in which he admitted to threatening to publish compromising photos or videos of women unless they provided additional compromising material.
Wilson and Flynn are both scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 30. Wilson faces a combined maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on both cases, while Flynn faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Both Wilson and Flynn were working as detectives in the Ninth Mobile Division from August 2018 through September 2019 when they threw large beverages, including the container, at civilians walking, according to a release from the Department of Justice.
The two — joined by others who were not named in the release — threw the drinks while dressed in LMPD uniforms and driving unmarked police vehicles. They would bring the beverages into their cars and after identifying a target, they'd drive the LMPD vehicle closer to the person before throwing the drinks after announcing on the police radio that "someone was thirsty," or "thirsty fam," the release stated.
After throwing the beverage, the driver of the LMPD vehicle would flee the scene. On many occasions, people were hit with the beverage and on at least one occasion, a person was knocked down after being hit, according to the release.
The assaults were also recorded either by the detectives or others participating, "sometimes from inside the car from which the beverage was thrown, and sometimes from an LMPD car following closely behind the car from which the beverage was thrown," the release states.
"Wilson subsequently displayed these videos to other members of the LMPD Ninth Mobile Unit," it stated.
In a statement released later Tuesday, Chief Erika Shields said she will initiate an internal investigation to determine what level of involvement in or knowledge of these incidents that other members of the force had.
"I want to make it clear to everyone, the actions of former Detectives Flynn and Wilson are reprehensible, sickening, and do not reflect the core values of LMPD," Shields said.
"Their behavior was demoralizing and dehumanizing to the victims. On behalf of this agency, I wish to express my sincere apologies to those affected. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. We owe our community better and this is not representative of the good work the men and women of LMPD strive for every day."
In the separate case, Wilson pleaded guilty and admitted to stealing compromising photos and videos of women, then sending them text messages in which he threatened to publish them unless they sent more material to him. He was able to steal the photos by hacking computer applications belonging to the women, the release states.
"Throughout the course of the cyberstalking conspiracy, Wilson had at least six female victims from whom he stole compromising photographs, videos and other information and attempted to extort additional material on threat of publication," the release stated.
Court documents indicate the theft and threatening of the women happened between September and October 2020.
News of the recorded beverage assaults came to light in June 2021, which Shields called at the time "another black eye to the department." Shields told Metro Council members at the time that both officers had been reassigned to desk duty, and that a federal investigation was underway.
In Tuesday's release, Shields said Flynn was removed then from the street with his police powers restricted. After his conviction, he resigned from the force.
Due to an unrelated criminal investigation, Shields said, Wilson resigned in July 2020.
Councilwoman Jessica Green, D-1st District, said at the time she was "very disturbed" by the case, calling it sickening and disgusting.
"I am very disturbed about the idea of narcotics detectives throwing snowcones on homeless Black people in West Louisville," said Green, who has since been sworn in as a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge. "I hope nobody makes excuses for that kind of behavior."
Bryan and Wilson mark the third and fourth LMPD officers to be federally charged in about one year's time.
Former officer Cory Evans was charged in June 2021 with deprivation of rights under color of law after he was found to have bludgeoned an unarmed, kneeling protester on the head with a wooden riot stick and then repeatedly lied to his superiors about it.
He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced in February to two years in prison.
In March, former officer Katie Crews was charged federally with unreasonable use of force leading up to the fatal shooting of West End barbecue stand owner David McAtee
Crews is accused of depriving McAtee's niece, Machelle McAtee, of her constitutional rights "to be free from an unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer."
Crews was fired from the force in February. She appealed her firing to the city's Police Merit Board but requested the hearing be put on hold until federal criminal charges against her are resolved.
Contact reporter Krista Johnson at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Ex-Louisville cops federally convicted for throwing drinks at people