A Louisville police sergeant ignored that a cop knelt on a man's neck for nearly 2 minutes — but did note that an officer broke one of their fingernails, DOJ alleges
Louisville police sergeant ignored officers' unlawful use of the neck restraint policy, DOJ alleges.
The sergeant only said of the incident that one of the officers "broke a fingernail," DOJ alleges.
The DOJ released the results of its investigation into the department on Wednesday.
A Louisville, Kentucky, police officer violated the department's neck restraint policy by kneeling on a man's neck for nearly two minutes, but a sergeant who reviewed the incident only flagged that an officer on scene "broke a fingernail," the Department of Justice alleges in a new report.
The DOJ released Wednesday the results of its investigation into the Louisville Metro Police Department, which was launched in response to the police killing of Breonna Taylor. The scathing 90-page report alleges numerous incidents of police abuse within the department that "violate the Constitution and laws of the United States."
The DOJ alleged that abuses include the unlawful use of "dangerous neck restraints against people who pose no threat."
The report describes one incident where LMPD officers "responded to a call about an elderly Black man 'dancing in the street.'"
The DOJ alleges that officers immediately dragged the man to the ground "by his neck" and sat on the man's head and neck while attempting to handcuff him and ignoring the man's repeated questions about what he had done wrong.
"After 30 seconds, the first officer got off, turned the man to the side, and pressed his knee against the man's head and neck for nearly two minutes," the DOJ's report said. "Witnesses implored the officer to get his 'knee off that man's head, he's a human being!' The officer finally removed his knee after additional officers arrived, but went on to grab the back of the man's neck and push his head into the pavement."
A sergeant who later reviewed the incident said "nothing about the many times officers violated LMPD's neck restraint policy," the DOJ's report said.
Instead, the DOJ's report said, the sergeant only mentioned that one of the officers on the scene "broke a fingernail" in the encounter.
"The man presented no threat, and the multiple neck restraints that officers used here violated the man's constitutional rights," the DOJ's report said.
Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, the interim chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said in a statement, "We will continue our efforts in improving public safety in Louisville and making LMPD the premier police department in the country."
She added, "Improvement will not occur overnight and will require clear goals and objectives. To this end, we are committed to work collaboratively and earnestly with all necessary parties."
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