OPINION: The federal investigation of LMPD is overdue


Justin Farris

In October of 2020, Satchel and Cooper Walton broke a story about KSP training materials that advocated ruthless violence and repeatedly quoted Adolf Hitler. Earlier that year, on March 13, a botched no-knock warrant raid by the LMPD led to the death of Breonna Taylor. On March 27, LMPD’s pepper balling of a reporter and her cameraman for no apparent reason. On June  1, David McAtee was killed at a protest by LMPD and Kentucky Army National Guard, after firing warning shots into the air. On September 23rd, 2020, Breonna Taylor’s killers were acquitted for her death.

Kentucky police are long overdue for a federal investigation the likes of which is now happening. Though the KSP and LMPD are different departments, the faults of the KSP also show a lack of oversight of Kentucky police, and the LMPD has repeatedly received criticism for excessive force. It’s not only a recent phenomenon: in 2012, a detective shot an unarmed man while off duty and drunk, and got off with a $500 fine. It’s not only excessive force that’s a concern; there’s the ongoing LMPD explorer program sex scandal, and the police pressure to hide documents pertaining to the case.

LMPD has gone too long without a federal investigation. Any city investigation is going to have a difficult time, because it will have less funding and power, and possibly a conflict of interest. The repeated accusations of police brutality, the sexual misconduct, and circumvention of the legal system all point to serious problems and mismanagement in the department. A federal investigation will hopefully have more transparency and bring LMPD’s failures to light.

I want to be clear: I don’t hate police officers as a group. I am upset at the training policies and people in charge who have gotten us to the point where killers walk free because of a badge, and hiding evidence of sexual assault is allowed to happen. LMPD needs to be put in line, and live up to their ideals of law and order.