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Proposed resolution would acknowledge how Louisville police have harmed residents

Woman speaks at lectern featuring the Louisville seal
Divya Karthikeyan
District 3 Council Member Shameka Parrish-Wright announced the resolution this week.

District 3 Democrat Shameka Parrish-Wright filed a resolution urging Metro Council to formally acknowledge the harms inflicted by the Louisville Metro Police Department on the city’s residents.

The nonbinding resolution includes the Department of Justice’s findings and recommendations from the report investigating decades of misconduct and rights violations by the LMPD, as well as community demands and context and recommendations from the recently released history of policing report.

That report was commissioned by the Mayor’s Office as part of the “Truth and Transformation Initiative” in collaboration with the University of Louisville.

Council Member Shameka Parrish-Wright’s resolution comes amid consent decree negotiations between the city and DOJ officials that are the result of the federal investigation.

It also includes demands from the People’s Consent Decree, a coalition of activists and community groups across the state. They called for wider public input in crafting police reforms.

Parrish-Wright is currently the sole sponsor of the resolution. The resolution has been filed, and Parrish-Wright said she plans to introduce it in the next Metro Council meeting.

She said Thursday that Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg’s office is aware of the resolution and she hopes he’d support it.

“But right now, the burden of this is on my colleagues, the Louisville Metro Council members. The mayor's job is not to be a dictator and run our city, it’s to manage our city and what the legislative body determines,” she said.

Parrish-Wright said the resolution isn’t intended to impeach police officers.

“But to finally have a full Metro Government acknowledgement of the harms inflicted by LMPD on our community and recognize the many ways we can act to imagine public safety that works for everyone,” she said.

Asked if Mayor Craig Greenberg supports the resolution, the spokesperson Kevin Trager told LPM News in an emailed statement they had already taken action ahead of the consent decree negotiations on three items in the resolution.

Those include a public apology from the mayor and LMPD Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel about “harms LMPD has done in the past”, releasing information on officers and judges named in the Justice Department’s report, and consulting with community stakeholders in the DOJ’s community input meetings across Louisville, they said.

“Now, LMPD now has better training and resources, video of officer involved shootings is released in 10 days, and the Inspector General has more tools to investigate potential police misconduct. Mayor Greenberg strongly believes that transparency and accountability are critical to having the police department we want and that our community deserves – and he will continue this work now and through the consent decree process.” Trager said.

In response, Parrish-Wright said the mayor’s office saying they’ve already moved forward on three items in the resolution only supports the need to put forward the resolution, and that he should welcome it.

“The community is saying what they need, and a few community meetings, an apology at CLOUT, and a few press conferences is not enough. It’s not in the books, it is not validated,” she said.

The River City Fraternal Order of Police responded to the resolution, saying in an emailed statement, “Louisville Metro Government has already acknowledged that no law enforcement agency is without flaws and that there have been instances where officers have acted in a manner that is not consistent with the values, ethics, and morals of good policing.”

The group also reiterated its position that the DOJ report — which found Louisville police engage in discriminatory policing — “is an unfair assessment of the great work that is accomplished daily by the vast majority of LMPD officers.”

Parrish-Wright said the resolution is meant to get local leaders to formally acknowledge the systemic issues with LMPD's policing.

"If it's about community, you don't tell the community, ‘Oh, I did this, or I did enough.’ The community should be able to tell you. It's enough,” she said. You didn't tell us how LMPD was gonna hurt us. You don't get to guide how LMPD heals us. But you get to do your part."

Divya is LPM's Race & Equity Reporter. Email Divya at dkarthikeyan@lpm.org.

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