LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) probe of Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) isn’t exactly unique. There have been investigations into possible patterns of civil rights violations in Ferguson, Baltimore and Chicago to name a few.
On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the investigation of LMPD.
"As in every Justice Department investigation, we will follow the facts and the law wherever they lead," Garland said.
Since then, Louisville residents have offered a reaction to the probe. Several people, like Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, called the investigation "long overdue."
Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham agreed.
"They have the ability to do a thorough investigation," Cunningham remarked Tuesday. "We are anxiously waiting for the probe's results."
Similarly, in 2015, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the DOJ's Ferguson, Missouri, investigation results. The department found a pattern of civil rights violations by Ferguson police, as it later did in Baltimore, Maryland and Chicago.
Holder then said Ferguson was "a community where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents, a community where local authorities consistently approached law enforcement not as a means for protecting public safety, but as a way to generate revenue."
In the years following the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson and that federal investigation, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) claims there have been some changes made. A Missouri state law caps the amount of revenue police departments can receive from things like traffic stops. EJI also cites a New York Times report that more Black police officers have joined the police department since.
Still, advocates say more change is needed.
Cunningham hopes the Justice Department can spur more police reform in Louisville.
"I think by the mere fact that the Justice Department is investigating indicates that there are some problems," he said.
However, he won't make any predictions.
"I can't pinpoint what the changes will be," Cunningham said.
DOJ officials claim their investigation isn't directly because of Breonna Taylor's death but is in light of publicly available information on LMPD. The investigation will examine whether LMPD has a pattern of using "unreasonable force," if it engages in "unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures," if it "unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes," and if it discriminates based on race or disability.
A virtual community forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The Justice Department is going to explain the investigation process.