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The police department that conducted the botched armed raid in which Breonna Taylor was killed routinely used excessive force, a Department of Justice review has found.

Louisville Metro Police engaged in a pattern of civil rights violations including unjustified neck restraints and canine attacks, the review said.

The DoJ investigation followed the killing of Breonna Taylor during a chaotic raid in March 2020.

Ms Taylor was hit with six bullets.

“The findings are deeply troubling and sobering,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.

The report found Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD):

  • Used excessive force, including unjustified neck restraints and the unreasonable use of police dogs and tasers
  • Conducted searches based on invalid warrants
  • Unlawfully executed search warrants without knocking and announcing
  • Unlawfully stopped, searched, detained, and arrested people during street enforcement activities, including traffic and pedestrian stops
  • Unlawfully discriminated against black people in its enforcement activities

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said the review demonstrates that Louisville’s police and city government have “failed to adequately protect and serve” and “breached the public’s trust”.

“The police used excessive force, subjecting people to unlawful strikes, Tasings, and canine bites,” Ms Clarke said.

“The police sought search warrants without justification and carried out no-knock warrants unlawfully, evading the constitution, defying federal law, and putting ordinary citizens in harm’s way.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “This conduct is unacceptable. It is heartbreaking… It is also an affront to the vast majority of officers who put their lives on the line to serve Louisville with honour.”

The Justice Department blamed the findings on deficiencies in policies, training, supervision, and accountability that contributed to LMPD and Louisville Metro’s unlawful conduct.

Officials opened their investigation on 26 April 2021.

It was just over a year after plainclothes police officers executed a “no-knock” search warrant – allowing entry without knocking or identification – at Ms Taylor’s home, firing over 30 shots and hitting Ms Taylor with six bullets.

Ms Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was asleep with her boyfriend when police burst into her apartment. Ms Taylor’s boyfriend fired once at what he said he believed were intruders – he has since received $2m (£1.69m) from the city.

Ms Taylor’s death sparked months of racial justice protests around the country alongside many other high profile killings of black Americans, including George Floyd in May 2020.

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