Family of teen shot by Louisville police officer suing the department
The family of a 16-year-old who was shot by a Louisville Metro Police officer while he was running out of a detached garage is now suing the officer and the department.
While police claimed it was an “accidental” discharge, lawyers representing the family of the teenager say the shooting was “intentional and reckless.” In court filings, attorney Sam Aguiar accused the officer of excessive use of force and battery, among other civil rights violations.
The shooting happened in the Chickasaw neighborhood on Feb. 20. According to police statements and body camera footage, LMPD officer Brendan Kaiser was responding to a call of multiple kids allegedly breaking into a garage in the 800 block of S. 38th Street. Kaiser initially tried to trap the group inside the garage, but they eventually managed to roll up the door. Kaiser fired his gun once as the kids fled, injuring two of them. A bullet entered the 16-year-old’s back and went through his abdomen, according to the lawsuit.
‘[The teen] did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to anyone when [Kaiser] shot him,” Aguiar wrote in the complaint. “[Kaiser] knew or should have known that pointing a firearm at another person is a show of force only justified under certain circumstances.”
Aguiar is bringing the lawsuit on behalf of Doris Logan, the teen’s grandmother. Because the victim is a minor, he’s referred to in the lawsuit only as “C.L.”
Sgt. Matt Meyers, a spokesperson for LMPD, said the department cannot comment on pending litigation.
The family is suing Kaiser, in his individual capacity, as well as LMPD. They claim the shooting was, in part, caused by the department’s “pattern and practice of negligently training their officers on the proper use of a firearm and the proper justification for using deadly force.”
In the lawsuit, Aguiar cited the recent report from the U.S. Department of Justice after a two-year investigation of Louisville Metro Government and LMPD. In addition to finding LMPD engaged in discriminatory and unconstitutional policing, the DOJ alleged the department failed to “exercise proper oversight to address potentially unreasonable force and remedy bad tactics when they occur.”
According to Kaiser’s personnel file, which was released along with body camera footage of the shooting last month, the officer shot and killed a 42-year-old Black man in 2018. Then-LMPD Chief Steve Conrad exonerated him of wrongdoing in that case.
That same year, Kaiser received a letter of reprimand for using “inappropriate language” and excessive force against a minor while responding to an alleged break-in. And Kaiser was found in violation of the department's policies on courtesy and de-escalation last year, for which he received a four-day suspension.
Aguiar also highlighted other instances in recent years when LMPD officers were accused of using improper or excessive force, but received no discipline.
“LMPD had ignored repeated instances of officers’ reckless use of firearms and was clearly on notice that the training in this particular area was deficient and likely to cause injury,” he said.
Aguiar did not respond to requests for comment.
The family of the teenager requested a jury trial and are seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Support for this story was provided in part by theJewish Heritage Fund.