No charges yet for former LMPD detective, despite investigator concluding he broke law
Two internal investigations concluded that a former Louisville police detective pressured multiple confidential informants into performing sexual acts on him and lied about it to investigators — and that his actions broke the law.
But two years after the investigations began, Brian Bailey has not been criminally charged. The commonwealth’s attorney’s office says it’s still deciding whether to charge Bailey, now more than seven months since they received the bulk of the evidence from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s criminal investigation.
Police and court records show one LMPD investigator began introducing doubt that Bailey would face charges in the same report where police concluded he broke the law.
Sgt. Andrew Meyer of the LMPD Professional Standards Unit wrote in a July 8 investigative summary that Bailey could have been charged with, at least, official misconduct and prostitution, both misdemeanors. Police have an alleged victim’s shirt with Brian Bailey’s semen on it, sexually explicit text messages he sent, proof he coerced informants into having oral sex with him in his police car and sexual acts in his office. Police also confirmed Bailey lied in sworn testimony.
Meyer determined that “these acts have destroyed public respect and confidence and they have brought discredit upon the department and upon Detective Bailey as a member of the department.”
But he also wrote that police were “unable” to charge Bailey because the one-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor charges ran out during the LMPD’s two-year investigation.
Two investigative unit reviews of Bailey — the Public Integrity Unit, which looks at criminal matters; and PSU, which determines if an officer violated internal policies — both concluded Bailey broke the law.
Regardless of the evidence and police conclusions, Bailey was allowed to remain with the department until his resignation in June.
The criminal investigation of Bailey began nearly two years ago, in February 2020. But he was first investigated and cleared for the same offense in 2016, when a woman serving as his confidential informant accused him of sexual assault.
The woman accused Bailey of touching her breast and sending her pictures of his penis from his work cellphone, but police never interviewed Bailey or looked at his phone.
Indeed, investigators waited eight months before even asking Bailey to talk about her claims.
When he refused, they closed the case, saying the allegations were “unfounded.”
In addition, LMPD didn’t open an internal investigation with its Professional Standards Unit, which is typical LMPD practice to do after a criminal probe is complete to look for violations of police procedure.
It would take another four years — and three more women accusing Bailey of sexual assault — before investigators talked with him. It took another year before police subpoenaed Bailey’s phones.
By then, three women had filed lawsuits against Bailey; his partner Jared Williams, who resigned from the department in January 2021; other officers involved in the 2016 investigation; and the city, among others.
An investigator in the criminal case said Bailey’s “cell phones had been deleted,” according to records in the civil suits.
In an August 25 deposition, LMPD Chief Erika Shields criticized the investigations into Bailey, saying that police should have obtained the texts the detective sent in 2016. She said a more thorough investigation at the time would have likely led to Bailey’s resignation or firing.
“From a Monday morning quarterback, it looks like that there was more that could have been done,” she said.
WDRB News and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting first documented Bailey’s pattern of questionable warrants and accusations of sexual misconduct with confidential informants in February 2021 as part of the news organizations’ ongoing examination of LMPD search warrants in the wake of the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Before he was taken off the streets, Bailey was notorious for search warrants based on information provided by confidential informants. Bailey obtained more residential search warrants than any other LMPD officer, according to an analysis by KyCIR and WDRB of publicly available warrants. He obtained more search warrants between January 2019 and June 2020 than the next two officers combined.
All but one of Bailey’s warrants reviewed by KyCIR and WDRB was based, at least in part, on the word of confidential informants.
Attorneys raised flags about Bailey’s use of confidential informants, accusing him in court of relying on “boilerplate” affidavits and, in some cases, making up information.
Bailey’s attorney, James McKiernan, declined to comment. An LMPD spokesperson said the department would not comment while the case is still pending. Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas B. Wine said his office is still trying to determine if criminal charges are warranted against Bailey.
Even though the investigative report centered on possible misdemeanors, Sgt. Omar Lee, who investigated Bailey to determine if he committed a crime, testified in a civil deposition in September that a felony charge of sodomy is possible as felony cases have no statute of limitations.
Kentucky’s sodomy law includes forcible oral sex, which two women accused Bailey of and the standards investigation concluded likely occurred.
Whether Lee’s investigation addressed the possibility of charging Bailey with a felony isn’t clear, because his report isn’t in the civil court record.
Attorney Vince Johnson, who represents two of the three women who have sued Bailey and the city, filed a motion in court Tuesday asking a judge to force the city to turn over Lee’s investigation, including any recommendations concerning criminal charges.
Johnson wrote that prosecutors have had the case for several months but Bailey has not been charged, and attempts to communicate with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office have failed.
“Whether Bailey will face criminal responsibility for his actions is of significant interest to the (women in the suits) and to the entire community,” he wrote.
Investigation: Bailey targeted women addicted to drugs
Four women have publicly accused Bailey of sending explicit photos and forcing them to engage in sexual acts while facing criminal charges.
The complaints in the lawsuits are similar: Bailey forced women facing charges to become confidential informants and then compelled them to perform sexual acts on him under threat of criminal prosecution.
In his standards investigation, Meyer concluded that Bailey targeted low-income women who were addicted to drugs and “would be more willing to perform sexual acts than go to jail,” according to his investigative summary.
“There are similarities in methodology among the allegations,” said Meyer. “These unique characteristics surface throughout Detective Bailey’s conduct toward each of these individuals. The methodology is regarding this apparent method of selection, coercion technique, and specific phrasing used to initiate sexual encounters.”
In text messages to the women, he would refer to himself as “Daddy,” and often asked the women, “Why you scared?” if they were hesitant.
Police have text messages from two of the four women.
One of the women, whose name was redacted, said Bailey got her out of trouble with police and prosecutors about ten times when she provided him with sexual favors.
The woman “believed any time she had been arrested, Detective Bailey called the prosecutor and told them she is working on a ‘big case’ for him, and this got her out of trouble,” Meyer wrote. “There was no big case.”
Other times, she would be pulled over by an officer and call Bailey “and he would call whoever had her stopped and they would let her go,” Meyer wrote.
Screenshots turned over to attorneys and included in court records from the woman involved in the 2016 case show someone she has listed in her phone as “BB” making sexually suggestive remarks and asking to come to her home. She provided the phone number to attorneys for the city and the alleged victims.
One woman told Meyer that Bailey would let her use drugs before performing a sex act on him in his vehicle.
Meyer also reviewed evidence from the 2016 investigation, where the woman turned over text messages Bailey had sent her, including one that said “Please mommy make daddy proud.”
In the deposition, the woman claims Bailey sexually abused her in his police cruiser and his office, where she describes seeing pictures of his family.
She said he texted her every day and she went along with it because he was “preventing me from becoming a felon.”
She claims he told her, “You help me and I’ll help you. You owe me.”
Shields raises concerns about investigation
Shields, who took over as chief in January 2021, initiated an investigation into whether Bailey violated departmental policies last June, shortly after the investigators in the criminal probe obtained DNA evidence on an alleged victim’s t-shirt that proved he had a sexual relationship with her.
At the very least, Shields said in her deposition, the department could discipline Bailey for untruthfulness, as he said in sworn testimony that he did not have a relationship with that informant.
Bailey resigned that same month. In a recent deposition, Bailey asserted his right to not incriminate himself 125 times in refusing to answer questions.
Bailey did talk to LMPD investigator Lee in May 2020, providing an initial 10-minute statement, but asked for an attorney once the investigator told him about allegations against him.
“He gave me ten minutes and locked himself into a story,” Lee said in his deposition.
Bailey’s statement is not available in court records.
Shields acknowledged she was frustrated with how long the second investigation of Bailey has taken, noting that waiting for the Kentucky State Police to finish the DNA testing put the investigation on a “two-year timeline, and that was not reasonable.”
Instead, Shields said she had investigators send the shirt to a private lab to be tested.
“Once the DNA came back and it showed that, in fact, he had in some shape or form had a relationship with this woman, I knew at that point, if nothing else, he – he lied in his statement,” she said.
But both Shields and Lee also criticized Meyer’s investigation and conclusions in their testimony.
Shields said Meyer has “established himself as somebody who jumps to conclusions.”
While saying she “absolutely” has concerns with Bailey’s actions, she was “not going to give Andrew Meyer that much weight.
“I just can’t,” Shields said.
Meyer investigated the officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting in 2020 and concluded they should not have returned gunfire because “circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot.”
He concluded that officers who fired their weapons that night violated LMPD’s use-of-force policy.
Commanders disagreed with Meyer’s findings and overruled them.
Lee defended his criminal investigation of Bailey — and how long it took — saying he didn’t believe he had enough evidence to get a search warrant for Bailey’s phones until the Kentucky State Police finished testing the DNA evidence.
While two of the three women in the lawsuits talked with Lee, one did not, he said, so he did not investigate the claims she made.
And the woman who claimed she had Bailey’s DNA on a t-shirt would not provide her phone as she believed police would find proof she was involved in illegal activity and use it against her, he said.
Asked if he believed Bailey committed crimes against both women involved in his investigation, Lee said, “I believe so, yes sir.”
Shields said Meyer and Lee should have done more to collaborate and obtain key evidence.
While the units generally keep their work separate to avoid compromising criminal investigations, Shields said the initial statements gathered by each unit should be shared.
Asked if she had any doubts that Bailey had committed crimes, she said, “Obviously I have serious concern.”
And if the investigation in 2016 had been more thorough, Shields said, it might have prevented further victims — because it “would definitely have increased the likelihood that he would have resigned.”
Produced through a collaboration between WDRB News and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit newsroom created by Louisville Public Media.