May 8, 2021 00:59

Can Louisville Reform Police After Botched Taylor Raid?

Restoring faith in Louisville’s police department will not be easy. Many residents have grown frustrated by how long it has taken to address the failings that led to Breonna Taylor’s death, and to hold officers accountable. Others have become disillusioned by protests that turned their city into a national story, the New York Times reports. “The issues run way deeper than the case of Breonna Taylor,” said Keturah Herron of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. Details that trickled out about the killing of Taylor painted a much darker picture of a botched operation.

The department’s refusal to hold anyone accountable became untenable. As protests mounted, the mayor fired the police chief, the attempted murder charge against  Taylor’s boyfriend was dropped, and one officer accused of wantonly firing into a neighbor’s apartment during the raid was fired. Yvette Gentry, a veteran officer, came out of retirement to lead the department through the end of the year with a promise to mend its strained relationships with the Black and Latino communities. Mayor Greg Fischer expects to name a new chief in January. He says, “We can be that city that when people look at the tough year we’ve had, they’ll say, ‘Wow, look how Louisville transformed from a really tough situation into this beacon of opportunity and beacon of equity for the country.’ ” Even after Gentry moved this week to fire two more officers, many worry about whether Louisville officials are prepared to order top-to-bottom change in a department that has a long history of combative treatment of Black and Latino residents, and a tendency to hide problems from public view.

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