© 2023 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

Personnel Documents Shed Light On Officers Involved In Deadly Shooting

Documents from the personnel files of the Louisville Metro Police officers who were at the scene when two officers fatally shot a 57-year-old man last week show more praise than trouble.

Officers Brian Smith, Beau Gadegaard and Taylor Banks responded to an emergency call for an alleged domestic violence situation early Monday morning in southwest Louisville. Officers Gadegaard and Banks fired multiple shots, killing Darnell Wicker.

Police allege Wicker approached the officers holding a handsaw.

Banks, who is shown on body camera footage firing at Wicker within seconds of arriving on the scene early Monday, has garnered three commendations since he joined the Louisville Metro Police Department in June 2015.

He's been praised for responding to an alleged domestic assault emergency, in which a woman told dispatchers she'd been "held against her will for several hours and had been stabbed in her head," according to the personnel documents. Banks was able to apprehend the subject, according to the documents.

He's also been complimented for following up on an emergency call related to a shooting in the Portland neighborhood, which led to the seizure of drug paraphernalia and a loaded gun, according to the documents.

Gadegaard joined the police department in June 2014 and has since received two commendations from Chief Steve Conrad: one for his assistance in executing a search warrant and another for his work during the annual National Night Out event in 2014.

Banks and Gadegaard have received no disciplinary action during their tenure with the police department.

Reached on his cell phone, Gadegaard declined to comment for this story. He directed questions to his attorney, Steve Schroering.

Schroering said he is representing both Gadegaard and Banks. He called both "outstanding young men."

"And they did what was absolutely necessary that night to protect their lives," Schroering said.

When asked to comment on their careers with the police department, Schroering said their personnel files "speak for themselves."

According to the documents, Smith, who did not fire his weapon, received a commendation letter from Chief Steve Conrad in March for his response to a domestic disturbance on Kramers Lane.

Upon arriving at the scene, two residents told Smith a man had locked himself in the "back bedroom and had a knife," the documents show.

"You used descalation [sic], calming techniques and after several minutes the subject put the knife down and was taken into custody," the documents state.

Witnesses at the scene of the shooting that left Wicker dead also noted Smith's calm demeanor.

Anita Jones, Wicker's longtime girlfriend, said Smith seemed surprised when Gadegaard and Banks opened fire.

"He was going up to maybe talk to [Wicker], or something, and tell him to put your weapon down," she said in an interview last week. "Just calm."

Smith is an eight-year veteran of LMPD.

Smith also received commendations for arresting a "violent felon involved in a home invasion" in Parkland, apprehending a suspect in a burglary case and apprehending a "very dangerous and violent criminal" while using "the least amount of force," according to the documents.

Smith has twice been nominated for the department's Exceptional Merit Award and once for the Distinguished Lifesaving Award for administering Naloxone to an unresponsive resident struggling to breathe, the documents show.

Smith served a 25-day suspension without pay in 2009 for violating the department's Standard Operating Procedure after he "sent inappropriate text messages," the documents state.

He's also been reprimanded for his "failure to submit a secondary employment form for your off-duty work."

WFPL News has asked LMPD for more information on the cases mentioned in Smith's personnel file. Smith could not be reached for comment.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

Can we count on your support?

Louisville Public Media depends on donations from members – readers 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.