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Public doesn't trust LMPD, police chief says

The LMPD chief admits he doesn't have your trust and wants to make things right after several controversial traffic stops caught his attention.

Video of traffic stop made by LMPD last August created concern for Sadiqa Reynolds when she saw it.

"We were in tears," Reynolds said, who is the president and CEO of Louisville's Urban League.

The body camera video released earlier this year shows then 18 year-old Tae-Ahn Lea being pulled over, removed from his car and handcuffed for what police said was an illegal wide right-turn in Louisville's west end. Reynolds says the officer's actions were excessive and created a larger fear about police.

"We are afraid of the people who are protecting us," she said.

At a Tuesday night public forum on LMPD's policing policies held at the Frazier Museum, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad acknowledged he had concerns after watching the stop. "I could certainly see after watching that why Mr. Lea and his mother were upset," he told the crowd.

Last month Chief Conrad announced changes on how his officers would handle future similar situations including certain actions by an officer shouldn't be justified simply because of the neighborhood they're in.

He also said more traffic stops in high crimes areas were part of earlier department changes after the city experienced a record number of homicides in 2016.

"It was a coordinated approach to try to make our city safer and one of the tactics officers were using when they were working the neighborhoods was traffic stops," he said.

However, many saw those stops as too aggressive. Metro Council President David James called that approach ineffective and over-reaching, especially in the west end. "What it does though is it makes a lot of people subject to the criminal justice system that would not have been subject to the criminal justice system if they lived in another part of the city," James said.

Chief Conrad is promising to improve community relations as he looks to turnaround his department's public perception.

"We can not be effective if we don't have the community's trust and right now, we don't," he said.

The policy changes on traffic stop starts August 1st. To read the changes made to LMPD, click here

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