© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical
Kentucky’s constables are gods unto themselves, armed with badges and guns but almost always with little or no formal training. And their actions have grave consequences.

Woman Shot By Jefferson County Constable Settles Lawsuit

A woman who was shot by a Jefferson County constable in a Walmart parking lot has agreed to settle her lawsuit against the county government.

The county will pay $75,000 in damages to Pedro and Tammie Ortiz on behalf of Constable David Whitlock, who shot Tammie Ortiz in November 2011. That brings the cost of the shooting for Jefferson County taxpayers to six figures, since the county has already paid more than $37,000 to Whitlock’s attorneys.

The settlement says that the purpose of the agreement is to avoid the expense of a trial and shouldn't "be construed as an admission of liability."

The former constable is one in a long line of troubled constables who have run amok in Kentucky for years. A joint investigation by The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and WAVE-3 News found constables making questionable arrests and using unauthorized blue lights to engage in dangerous high-speed pursuits. In one case, a constable shot an unarmed man who had his hands up.

The constables did it all without any required law enforcement training. (Read our  " Kentucky Constables: Untrained and Unaccountable.")

Whitlock said he followed Ortiz after security at the Pleasure Ridge Park Walmart asked for his assistance in catching a suspected shoplifter. Whitlock fired on Ortiz, who was inside her car, after he said she ran over his foot.

Whitlock was charged in the shooting and agreed to resign his elected office as part of a plea deal.

Josh Abner, communications director for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, said in an email that the settlement “represents the most expedient and economical outcome of the matter for taxpayers in Jefferson County.”

Abner noted that the Metro government was required by law to defend the constable.

Reporter Kate Howard can be reached at  khoward@kycir.org and (502) 814.6546. 
[documentcloud url="http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2858620-Ortiz-Whitlock-RELEASE-and-SETTLEMENT-AGREEMENT.html"]

Can we count on your support?

Louisville Public Media depends on donations from members – generous people like you – for the majority of our funding. You can help make the next story possible with a donation of $10 or $20. We'll put your gift to work providing news and music for our diverse community.