LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than a year after federal investigators launched a probe into Louisville Metro Police officers throwing drinks at people in west Louisville, two former officers have now pleaded guilty in the incident.
According to the Department of Justice, Bryan Wilson, 36, and Curt Flynn, 40, were charged with violating the rights of Louisville pedestrians through arbitrary use of force.
The incidents took place between August 2018 through September 2019 while they were working with the now former 9th Mobile Division.
Court documents said the pair would drive around in unmarked LMPD vehicles with large drinks. Once they spotted a target, records showed Flynn would slow down near the sidewalk so Wilson could throw the drink at different people.
The officers could be heard on the police radio saying, “someone was thirsty” or “thirsty fam.” They would speed off after the incident.
In at least one case, the victim was knocked to the ground from the impact.
Prosecutors said Wilson and Flynn would record or have others record their actions on video using their cell phones – sometimes from inside the car or from an LMPD car following closely behind the car in which the drink was thrown.
The videos were shown to fellow members of the 9th Mobile Unit.
In a separate case, Wilson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cyberstalking.
Records showed he planned to hack computer systems to get compromising photos of women and then used those photos to extort them. The DOJ said through the course of the incident, Wilson had at least six female victims who he stole photos and other information from.
Both men are expected to be sentenced on September 30, 2022.
The DOJ says Wilson faces a combined maximum sentence of 15 years in both cases while Flynn faces a maximum of 10 years.
Chief Erika Shields said she learned of the incident in May 2021, nearly two years after the 9th Mobile Division was disbanded. She said she wasn't given specific information from the FBI at the time, but removed Flynn from the street and suspended his police powers pending the criminal investigation. She said due to an unrelated criminal investigation, Wilson had resigned in July 2020.
Could this lead to more civil rights charges for LMPD Officers? One law professor said it's entirely possible.
UofL Brandies School of Law Professor Sam Marcosson said it could hinge on the former officers' plea agreement.
That's something the DOJ hasn't made public. Through sentencing and potential future trials, we may learn more.
Marcosson said, "The biggest question of all is 'does this lead, either indirectly or directly, to a broader indictment against the department and some sort of consent decree or order after the trial that forces change?'"
For now, that question remains unanswered.
"Today we have learned Detective Flynn and former Detective Wilson have pleaded guilty in Federal Court to charges relating to these incidents. On this same date, Detective Flynn resigned from LMPD effective immediately. I am initiating an internal investigation with the Professional Standards Unit that will determine what level of knowledge or involvement anyone else may have had about these incidents and if so, they will be disciplined appropriately, up to and including termination. I want to make it clear to everyone, the actions of former Detectives Flynn and Wilson are reprehensible, sickening, and do not reflect the core values of LMPD.
Their behavior was demoralizing and dehumanizing to the victims. On behalf of this agency, I wish to express my sincere apologies to those affected. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. We owe our community better and this is not representative of the good work the men and women of LMPD strive for every day."
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