DOJ to probe Louisville PD over Breonna Taylor shooting

Once the results of the grand jury investigation in Louisville were released and a “final” disposition reached in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor during a police raid of her apartment, I foolishly thought that was the end of the matter. I say “foolishly” because it appears that President Joe Biden’s Justice Department thinks that there are still outstanding issues to be addressed. With that in mind, the DOJ is going to be opening an investigation into the matter, leading to new rounds of protests and debates over what turned out to be a tragic accident and a confluence of unpredictable events. But I suppose it will generate some good headlines for Biden’s administration on the left, so here we go again. (NBC News)

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday is expected to announce an investigation into the Louisville Metro Police Department, a source familiar with the situation told NBC News.

The Louisville, Ky., police department has faced intense scrutiny and criticism in the 13 months since officers of the department killed Breonna Taylor inside her own apartment as they served a no-knock warrant.

The probe marks the second “pattern or practice” investigation launched by the Justice Department in recent days. Last week, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the policing practices of the Minneapolis Police Department, less than 24 hours after a jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

The initial question I had upon hearing this news was whether the DOJ was questioning the specific outcome of the raid on Taylor’s apartment and how it was handled or if they were looking for something “systemic” in the Louisville PD’s training or procedures. The limited details we have of the upcoming probe suggest that it’s more of the latter. Garland will supposedly be trying to determine if there has been “a pattern or practice of policing that violates the Constitution or federal civil rights laws.”

In this case, one isn’t much different from the other, or at least as far as I can tell. Louisville officials pretty much emptied the bag after the grand jury investigation, releasing far more information than we normally get from such proceedings in an effort to address all of the public’s questions. What “practice of policing” on display could fall into a category such as the one described is not at all clear.

In terms of the events that transpired on the evening in question, virtually all of the major questions that had been posed seem to have been answered. Brionna Taylor was definitively established as having been a frequent contact of the real target of the investigation, that being her former boyfriend, a known drug dealer. A warrant was obtained and the police were definitely at the correct apartment.

Even if the DOJ wants to make the case that no-knock warrants are “bad,” they are still permissible and were when the raid took place. If that changes later, it still wouldn’t impact the Louisville PD in terms of this incident. And both the witnesses from neighboring apartments and Taylor’s then-boyfriend have confirmed that the cops didn’t even use the full “no-knock” powers of the warrant. They were banging at the door and calling for the occupants to let them in long enough for neighbors to assemble on the outside walkways and for both Taylor and her boyfriend to be aroused from sleep and for the boyfriend to grab his legally-owned handgun and move into the darkened hallway outside their bedroom before the police finally broke into the apartment.

After that, all hell broke loose. The boyfriend fired at the people at the door, claiming that he believed they were criminal intruders of some sort. He struck one of the police officers in the leg and they returned fire into the unlit hallway, striking and killing Taylor while not hitting the guy who had actually opened fire. Yes, it was tragic, but it’s also difficult to see how anything sinister or even inappropriate in terms of police procedures is up for grabs here.

This afternoon, the city’s Chief of Police and the Metro Council President held a press conference to say that they “welcomed” the Justice Department investigation. But they’ve already been working on a review of all of the PD’s procedures. I simply don’t see what the DOJ brings to the table at this point besides a few headlines for the Biden administration from BLM and the far left.