Here's What We Know About Monday's Police Shooting In Louisville
Two Louisville Metro Police officers are under investigation after fatally shooting a man early Monday morning.
The officers were responding to an alleged domestic violence emergency in southwest Louisville at the time of the shooting, said Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad. They were wearing body cameras. Police released the footage Monday night.
The video includes footage from all three officers' body cameras. It shows from two officers' vantage points the officers arriving at the scene and the shooting. All three body cameras show the moments that followed the shooting.
Early in the video, two women detail the scene for an officer. One woman tells the officer the man had "a saw and a knife in his hand."
Shortly after that, officers are heard yelling "drop it." Seconds later, numerous shots are fired.
At about the 25-minute mark on the video, one officer is shown arriving on the scene shortly before the shooting. Within about 10 seconds, the officer fires his gun multiple times.
The victim's legs can be seen in part of the video. It appears he takes an unhurried step toward the officers. A saw-like object can be seen on the ground from one camera angle after the victim is shot.
After the shooting, a woman is heard saying, "they told him to put it down, and then he started swinging it back and forth."
A man at the scene can also be heard asking officers why they weren't performing first aid on the victim. An officer responds that an ambulance "is on the way."
"But the ambulance ain't here," the man responds.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
At a news conference Monday evening, Conrad said the department's Public Integrity Unit is conducting an investigation into the shooting, which is protocol following any fatal police shooting.
"Every one of these needs to be looked at," Conrad said. "You still don’t know what exactly happened until you’ve done a thorough and complete investigation."
The Jefferson County Coroner's office has yet to release the victim's name. Conrad did not identify the man but described him as "an African-American man in his mid-fifties."
The officers who shot the victim, Taylor Banks and Beau Gadegaard, are both white. Banks joined the Louisville Metro Police Department in June 2015. Gadegaard joined the force in June 2014.
They responded to the call with Officer Brian Smith, an eight-year LMPD veteran, according to police. Smith did not fire his weapon, Conrad said, and he remains on duty.
All three officers work in the department's Second Division.
The officers responded to a call for assistance in an apartment complex near the 4900 block of Broadleaf Drive, near Shively, around 1:35 a.m., Conrad said. Police dispatchers informed the officers the suspect had kicked in a door and entered an apartment with a knife, Conrad said.
A witness at the scene also told the officers the suspect "was armed with a knife," the chief told reporters. That's also included in the video.
As officers approached the apartment, Conrad said, the suspect "opened the door and approached the officers and was armed with a large, curved, bladed object."
Conrad said police body camera footage shows the man "coming at them," although that's not clear in the footage made available Monday night.
"I did not see a lunge," Conrad said.
He said the officers were "very loud and very clear" in giving their commands to drop the object. The suspect failed to do so, prompting Banks and Gadegaard to fire multiple shots.
In the video, Banks is heard saying after the shooting, "He came out the door, was holding a knife in his hand, he started kinda swinging around a little bit, he kinda came at us, so we shot."
Both men have been placed on administrative duty during the investigation, which is standard procedure, Conrad said.
After reviewing the body camera footage, Conrad said he has questions about the use of force and the "rendering of aid."
"It's only through a thorough investigation that we will be able to understand and fully determine whether or not these officers provided the appropriate level of aid," he said.
The Public Integrity Unit's investigation is expected to span about eight weeks, the chief said. The officers involved have yet to be interviewed. Each officer has the opportunity to review the body camera footage prior to giving a statement, according to Louisville Metro Police Standard Operating Procedure.
Once the Public Integrity Unit investigation is complete, the case will be presented to the Commonwealth Attorney's office for consideration of any possible charges.
"If there is a decision that these officers should be charged, the matter will be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment," Conrad said.
If no charges are recommended, the Public Integrity Unit investigation will close and the Professional Standards Unit will examine the incident to examine whether the officers followed departmental Standard Operating Procedure.
Louisville Metro Police procedure outlines a scale of progressing options related to use of force. The "continuum of control" begins with the officers' presence, then progresses with verbal direction, use of chemical agents, use of a taser-like device, strong hand control and ends with deadly force.
Conrad said officers are not required to expend one option before using the next. That means an officer can use his or her judgement about which use of force option is most reasonable.
"Good judgement is extremely important," Conrad said.
Conrad said a police shooting is a "split-second decision" that can be scrutinized for a lifetime.
Mayor Greg Fischer posted a series of tweets about the shooting Monday night, calling the shooting a "tragedy" for both the victim and police, and asking citizens to "trust" the investigative process.
Anytime an officer uses deadly force — and anytime one of our citizens loses their life in this way — it is a tragedy for all involved.— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) August 8, 2016