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Resolution acknowledging how Louisville police have harmed residents fails in council vote

District 3 Democrat Shameka Parrish-Wright at the Metro Council meeting on Thursday.
District 3 Democrat Shameka Parrish-Wright address the resolution at the Metro Council meeting on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

Metro Council members failed to pass a resolution that would have acknowledged the ways the Louisville Metro Police Department has harmed local communities.

District 3 Democrat Shameka Parrish-Wright filed the nonbinding resolution last month.

It came amid consent decree negotiations between the city and DOJ officials, following a deep federal investigation that documented patterns of misconduct and civil rights violations by the LMPD.

Louisville and federal officials are expected to agree on a set of reforms, though it’s unclear how long the process will take.

Parrish-Wright’s resolution included 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.

“The people have asked to be part of the negotiations…we can keep asking them ‘til we’re blue in the face. Unless the administration does that, it won't happen, but that does not mean that it shouldn’t be represented in this resolution,” Parrish-Wright said on Thursday night before the resolution was put to vote.

The coalition also wanted the city not to allocate additional money to LMPD to address issues raised in the consent decree. Instead, its members called for investments in housing, transportation and other needs.

At the Thursday night meeting, Metro Council members approved the next city budget, including an 8% increase for LMPD’s operations, an annual allocation of $240.5 million. Of that, $375,000 is for an independent monitor to make sure the city complies with the reforms agreed to in the upcoming consent decree.

Context and recommendations from a recently released history of policing report, commissioned by the Mayor’s Office as part of the “Truth and Transformation Initiative” in collaboration with the University of Louisville, were part of the resolution’s language.

In the end, four council members voted for the resolution, while 17 voted against it and three voted present.

Before the vote, District 7 Democrat Paula McCraney said she acknowledged the community’s need to heal but wanted the resolution to be put on hold in order to work more on it.

“Until we write it correctly, and make certain…at least 14 people can support it, then unfortunately it may not pass,” she said.

That request wasn’t granted.

In response to concerns from other council members about the nonbinding document, sponsor Parrish-Wright said, “I’m not rubbing salt on the wound. LMPD is, and this council body is if you don’t formally acknowledge what has happened.”

Earlier on Thursday, Mayor Craig Greenberg said reforms around how LMPD handles sexual misconduct were “not enough,” after three women who work for the department went public with allegations of abuse. The DOJ criticized LMPD’s investigations into such claims against officers in its report last year, which preceded the consent decree negotiations.

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

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