Councilwoman Sexton Smith releases statement concerning events surrounding the shooting of Breonna Taylor

May 20, 2020

Louisville – Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4) has released the following statement and call for action in the shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor:

“The unthinkable and the unacceptable has happened in our city. On March 13th Breonna Taylor was killed. Louisville police officers forced their way into her home in the middle of the night and pumped eight bullets into her body as she lay sleeping and unarmed.

As a mother, my heart bleeds for her beautiful family as they wait for the truth and justice. As an elected official, I will not wait to take a stand. All questions must be answered, and responsibility must be taken at the highest levels. Justice must be served because EVERY LIFE MATTERS - EVERY DAY.

I want everyone to know where I stand since first learning about this tragedy. I am calling for the following:

1.Release immediately the Public Integrity Unit internal investigation to the Kentucky Attorney General, U.S. Attorney and the FBI for review.

2.Conduct immediately a full independent investigation and release the results to the public.

3.Drop the attempted murder charge against Kenneth Walker.

4.Create and fund an Inspector General position for Louisville Metro as previously requested.

5.Require body cameras to be worn by all LMPD police officers.

6.Drop the LMPD “No-Knock” policy.

In response to Mayor Fischer’s recent announcement related to new public safety initiatives I offer the following:

Now is not the time to take baby steps. Now’s the time for decisive action. The Mayor has called for an independent review. Fine. I say we don’t need to know if the internal investigation crossed all their t’s and dotted all their i’s. We need an independent investigation. 

If a Civilian Review Board is a good idea, let’s form it now – not next year.

The Mayor announced LMPD no-knock warrants will require sign-off from the chief of police or his designee prior to going to a judge for approval. This is unacceptable, they should be banned.

LMPD is updating its body camera policy to require all sworn officers, including Narcotics officers, have body cameras available for serving warrants and other situations when they will be identifying themselves as police officers. This is unacceptable – all sworn officers should wear body cameras whilst on duty.

 

Louisville wrote the book on talking – empathy and compassion are no substitute for justice in action.

 

Every voice matters and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered just as Kenneth Walker’s future matters. We must stay the course until justice prevails. The time is now for each of us to recognize the realty and receive the responsibility to reshape our nation one person at a time.

 

In the more than 400 years of our country’s history, racism and institutional oppression has been defined differently at different times. Now we must confront it head on. In that respect, the time has come for new leadership. Remarkable leaders know when to step aside. It’s one of the toughest decisions a leader will ever make. You must think about the community and not your career.

 

What I say here I say more in sorrow than in anger. For what I say we need to do, we need to do now. As we work through this together, we have a chance to get it right this time. Shame on us if we don’t.”

 

 

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