Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, a Kentucky district court denied a motion to dismiss an ongoing lawsuit against the City of Louisville, Kentucky, for the Louisville Metro Police Department’s (LMPD) repeated use of military-type force and intimidation in response to peaceful protesters demonstrating against police violence.

The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, Inc. (ACLU-KY), and the law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP (ECBAWM) on behalf of people who were subject to and injured by the LMPD’s violent tactics, seeks both monetary relief for individual protesters and injunctive relief barring the LMPD from using militaristic force to silence protesters demanding the protection of Black lives. In denying the City’s motion to dismiss, the court found that the City’s “failure to investigate or discipline, or to make any meaningful policy reforms, suggests a conscious choice to allow the pattern of alleged conduct to continue.”

“The victims of the LMPD’s militarized violence deserve justice,” said LDF Assistant Counsel Ashok Chandran. “As the Court recognized, this is not a case about one-off or discrete instances of misconduct; rather, the City of Louisville and LMPD leadership have at best deliberately ignored—and at worst consciously approved—a pattern of unconstitutionally using military-grade weaponry against peaceful protesters, including tear gas, pepper balls, and long-range acoustic devices. We are pleased the court agrees that our clients—concerned Louisville residents, who were rightfully demanding police accountability for the deaths and mistreatment of innocent Black people, including Breonna Taylor—deserve to continue their fight for justice. We look forward to continuing to defend their right to peacefully protest.”

“We are glad the court agrees we can continue to pursue our claims against Metro Louisville’s unconstitutional policies and practices,” said Corey Shapiro, ACLU-KY Legal Director. “We look forward to proceeding with this litigation to hold LMPD and Mayor Fischer accountable for the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters, and to make certain that Louisvillians can continue to exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of police violence. The case now moves into the discovery stage, where we expect to obtain the documents and evidence that will bring the unconscionable police policies into light.”

Read the court’s ruling denying the City of Louisville’s motion to dismiss here.

 

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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