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Louisville promises to release police shooting footage within 10 days

Close up of a police officer's vest and equipment
J. Tyler Franklin
Louisville Metro Police Department leaders say they are changing their policies around investigating shootings by police. They're also extending the window for releasing body camera footage.

Louisville Metro Police Department officials announced a new process Thursday for how they plan to inform the public when an officer shoots someone.

Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel said LMPD will release body camera footage within 10 business days of a shooting. The department did not consistently follow a previous policy of releasing footage within 24 hours.

Gwinn-Villaroel said the new 10-day policy will allow LMPD to have a uniform approach.

“Our goal is to provide a process that is consistent and makes as much information public as possible while protecting the integrity of the case,” she said at a press conference.

Louisville backed off its previous commitment to release footage from officers’ body-worn cameras more quickly in 2020, when former Mayor Greg Fischer asked Kentucky State Police to investigate police shootings. That followed intense criticism of LMPD following the killing of Breonna Taylor and the department’s involvement in the killing of David McAtee by Kentucky National Guardsmen earlier that year.

LMPD will also return to conducting its own criminal investigations into shootings by its officers. Gwinn-Villaroel said LMPD can’t ensure the timely release of body camera footage if it’s not in charge of the investigations.

“We service other surrounding [police] agencies, 22 of them to be exact, so we have that experience and we know how to conduct these investigations properly,” Gwinn-Villaroel said.

LMPD officials said the 10-day release policy should allow investigators to conduct interviews with primary witnesses before their memory can be influenced by the footage.

Asked whether the public should trust LMPD to investigate itself, Gwinn-Villaroel pointed out that Louisville’s Office of Inspector General will be able to independently review the agency’s work after an investigation is complete. Members of that office can choose to launch their own investigation.

“Now we have additional layers so the community will feel comfortable in us moving forward,” Gwinn-Villaroel said.

She said LMPD will also publish the case files from its administrative and criminal investigations on the department’s website after a final decision on discipline and potential criminal charges is made.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.

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