LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky State Police took over the handling of LMPD officer involved investigations after the mayor’s change in policy in late July, and it’s slowing the release of body camera video.
The Louisville Metro Police Department has been known to release body camera video, if it exists, within 24 hours of any officer-involved shooting, as well as the names of the officers who fired their weapons.
It is KSP policy to "not to release specific details of an investigation. Before releasing details of the investigation and video footage, vital witnesses must be interviewed and pertinent facts gathered," which could take 72 hours or longer.
“Normally I would know what's happened within a short period of time, and right now I don't,” said Metro Council President David James, who represents the Sixth District.
James has been an strong advocate for transparency in the police department.
“I think it's very important that we have the credibility of a KSP investigation but we also need the transparency for our citizens,” James said while referring to LMPD Chief Erika Shields as a transparent chief. "There's just a giant void of transparency of information that people are not having."
Mayor Fischer was asked about the concerns at Broadbent Arena Friday morning.
“The community wanted to see more independence with officer involved shootings, and that's why we asked Kentucky State Police to get involved,” he said. “I recognize that's not what our community is used to, so we're also working through that process in terms of 'can there be additional input along the way' but right now those additional comments come from KSP so we can pursue that further goal of what the community wanted which was more independence. I realize not everybody is happy about where that is right now.”
The River City FOP released this statement:
The FOP did not have a role in the decision to ask the Kentucky State Police (KSP) to handle investigations into LMPD officer involved shootings.
As we have stated previously, the FOP has full faith in the ability of the LMPD Public Integrity Unit to thoroughly and accurately investigate every OIS. We also have complete faith in the KSP to investigate these shootings.
The administration decided, based on what it considered an outcry from the community, to request that KSP handle LMPD OIS’s. The administration and the public should have been aware that when Metro asked an outside agency to investigate LMPD shootings, it was inherently understood that we accepted the policies and protocols used by that agency.
“I think what's really important here is that Chief Shields and the Mayor go speak with the Governor and the KSP Commissioner about what's needed here in Louisville because we have a very unique situation,” James said.
On Tuesday, a police pursuit that ended near the Bashford Manor resulted in gunfire. Police said Tuesday the suspect went to the hospital.
Then on Thursday, there was another officer-involved shooting after a suspect under arrest ran from arson investigators, according to LMPD. Police said he was armed with a knife, and also went to the hospital. No other information has been revealed.
KSP said Friday that there is no timeline on when more information will be released.