Two of Louisville’s high-ranking police and security staff walked out of a city hearing on Monday without testifying in the middle of an investigation by the police department and the mayors’ handling of Breonna Taylor’s death and the weeks with sometimes violent demonstrations that followed.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Rob Schroeder and Public Safety Chief Amy Hess appeared before the Louisville Metro Government’s Monitoring and Audit Committee on Monday but declined to answer questions from city law. Their lawyers argued that a 47-page federal civil lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the NAACP prevented their clients from speaking in public at an open hearing. Instead of Schroeder and Hess, they offered to testify behind closed doors.
“We are not entering the executive session. There will be nothing hidden from the public on this issue, “said Brent Ackerson, chairman of the committee. Zero. Light and simple. So with that said, if you will not continue, there is the door. “
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Schroeder and Hess provided advice from their lawyers, the WDRB reported.
“Getting in here and politicizing this issue with these elected officials is not what our city needed today to heal. Suggesting that we hide something is further from the truth. Chief Schroeder, like everyone in this commonwealth, has rights, “Schroeder’s lawyer, Joey Klausing, told reporters as he left City Hall, calling the hearing a” complete “dog and pony show. ”
The Office of Louisville’s Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer said they “remain committed to sharing information as soon as we can without compromising pending investigations.”
Ackerson “was well aware before setting up today’s meeting that there are issues that we are not legally entitled to share, and they were informed of our concerns about continuing at this time, especially in the light of a lawsuit filed late last week where Metro- employees were sued in their individual capacity, ”a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office, Jean Porter, told WAVE in a statement.
“But the committee chairman continued anyway. We look forward to returning to the Council when all the problems have been resolved correctly, she said. The committee later voted almost unanimously to formally suspend Schroeder and Hess.
LOUSIVILLE DETECTIVE IN BREONNA TAYLOR SHOOTING FIRED
Although public pressure is mounting to report criminal charges nearly five months after Taylor’s death, prosecutors could face significant barriers to bringing murder-related charges against police officers who were shot when they were sent to her house by an officer, legal experts told the Associated Press.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician who was studying to become a nurse, was shot several times March 13 after being awakened from her bed when police knocked on her door.
Her boyfriend, Kenny Walker, told investigators he heard a knock on the door but thought the apartment was broken into when he fired a shot at Louisville police officer Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly. Mattingly hit the leg and returned fire along with other officers who were outside the apartment. Taylor was struck by their recurring fire in her hall and died on the spot.
Police had secured a controversial no-knock order allowing sudden entry, but Mattingly insisted they knocked and notified themselves before entering. The master was approved as part of a drug investigation by a suspect who lived all over the city, and no drugs were found at her home.
The power, “combined with the fact that they were fired, would lead to a strong defense argument that they acted in valid self-defense while conducting a lawful police operation,” said Sam Marcosson, a University of Louisville law professor who has closely looked at the local case.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first African-American to be elected to the job in Kentucky, has declined to set a timetable for his decision to bring criminal charges against officials since he took over the case in May. He continues to face pressure from protesters from Black Lives Matter and dozens who went to his home in Louisville were arrested for failing to leave his farm.
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Last week, an armed militia marched to the center, demanding that Cameron make his decision within a month. Taylor’s family and several cultural fixtures – from LeBron James to Oprah Winfrey – have demanded that three police officers who were in Taylor’s home be charged with her murder. Oprah put Taylor on the cover of her O-magazine this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.