Statement from Mayor Fischer regarding State Senate press conference

September 1, 2020

Statement from Mayor Fischer re: State Senate press conference.

It would be easy to describe today’s press conference as partisan politics, but the truth is, I think it’s reassuring to hear our state legislators offering support to Louisville. Cities across the nation are facing many challenges right now – COVID-19, an uptick in gun violence, an economic downturn and renewed demands for racial justice – and we need support, and resources. We appreciate what Governor Beshear and his team have already provided, and we join Senate Leadership in their call for a special session to address the pressing issues we face. Our city has already taken many actions to start addressing these problems  and we’ve been talking with legislators, Metro Council, and community about potential needs from the state, such as:

  • Allow local jurisdictions to create Civilian Review Panels with subpoena power.
  • Create a statewide officer-involved shooting investigative team to review all such incidents.
  • Amend KRS 67C to increase accountability and transparency in law enforcement, including allowing police departments and public officials to discuss pending internal disciplinary cases.
  • Ban the use of no-knock warrants statewide and require the use of body-worn cameras when executing all search warrants, just as Louisville Metro has done in adopting Breonna’s Law.
  • Require all police departments to use body cameras, encourage transparency in release of video, and provide state funding for purchase of equipment and data storage.
  • Support new laws, policies and state funding streams to promote mental wellness among officers, including making it a crime to attempt to “blind” an officer with a “laser light device” and criminalizing the practice of “doxing” (maliciously publishing the personally identifying information of) a public official.
  • Fund a new cadre of “first responders’ from the social work and mental health fields to work in concert with officers to handle many of the emergency responses where a sworn officer is not the best ‘first’ solution to aide a person(s) in need.
  • Fund violence prevention and intervention efforts to interrupt the cycle of violence and engage youth in productive activities
  • Ban the use of chokeholds, neck restraints, strangleholds, and weight on subject’s necks unless necessary to save the life of an officer or another person. (This is current LMPD policy.)
  • Require all police departments to train on de-escalation techniques, as LMPD does.
  • Require officers to act to prevent or stop any member, regardless of rank or assignment, from using unlawful or excessive force; intervention may be verbal and/or physical. (Current LMPD policy.)
  • Ban shooting at moving vehicles except in situations where officers are returning gunfire to save a human life or prevent a vehicle ramming attack. (This is current LMPD policy.)
  • Require comprehensive reporting and public release of documentation when officers use force.

So yes – I’m glad to see this sense of urgency from our state legislators. We share it.