Of the incidents described in the U.S. Department of Justice’s March report on the Louisville Metro Police Department, the city said 29 of 62 had already been “fully adjudicated” by LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit, and as such, cannot be revisited.
That means any punishment officers were given — or, in many cases, not given — is final.
Working through the database LMPD released Friday afternoon, The Courier Journal was able to identify 25 cases specifically mentioned by the DOJ that have already been cleared by PSU and will not be revisited. Here’s a look at what the DOJ said officers did compared to LMPD’s discipline decisions:
Related: Louisville releases more information about incidents in DOJ report on LMPD
Officers Mark Baston and Troy Best
What the DOJ said: After a man was pulled over and did not immediately comply with a Breathalyzer test, an officer pushed him to the ground, grabbed his throat and squeezed for five seconds. After the man was handcuffed, the officer pressed his arm into the man’s neck for nearly a minute before a second officer knelt on the man’s neck while he screamed: “You’re killing me! I’m already cuffed!” The DOJ highlighted the case as an example of LMPD using neck restraints against people who pose no threat.
What LMPD did: In November 2020, interim Chief Yvette Gentry exonerated officers Mark Baston and Troy Best of wrongdoing.
Officers Beau Gadegaard and Taylor Banks
What the DOJ said: Responding to a domestic violence call about a Black man armed with a knife in an apartment, LMPD officers arrived as a man walked out with a knife. The DOJ said LMPD officers “rushed out of the cars and ran towards the man” instead of creating distance and taking cover. Officers shot the man 13 times, killing him. Later, Louisville Metro Government settled a lawsuit with the man’s estate for $1.25 million. The DOJ used the case to illustrate how LMPD officers “rush into encounters without adequately weighing the threat or resistance presented by the involved individual.”
What LMPD did: In August 2017, Chief Steve Conrad said Officer Beau Gadegaard violated the force’s body cam policy by failing to activate his camera and was suspended for three days. He was exonerated of violations of policies regarding the use of deadly force and arrest of the injured and sick. Officer Taylor Banks was exonerated of those same charges.
Officer Stephen Roederer
What the DOJ said: During a traffic stop, officers told a driver who had young children in the car that they would call a police dog if they did not consent to a search. The DOJ used this incident as an example of how LMPD violates the Fourth Amendment through its street enforcement activities. Specifically, they said this incident highlighted how LMPD “coerces people into acquiescing to searches instead of obtaining voluntary consent.”
What LMPD did: In August 2021, Chief Erika Shields determined that Officer Stephen Roederer violated LMPD’s policies on warrantless searches and tactics of patrol stops in the encounter by failing to identify himself. He was suspended for one day for the incident.
Officers Patrick Schultz, Eric Owen and Troy Best
What the DOJ said: Officers arrived at a residence after a vehicle chase ended nearby at about midnight. They had not seen a suspect enter the home, and they lacked justification for a warrantless search. However, they drew their guns while an officer yelled: “Come out now or my dog will bite you.” When a Black woman came to the door, officers grabbed her and pulled her outside. Meanwhile, the woman’s son was handcuffed and detained. At least nine officers entered the home, according to the DOJ. The DOJ used the incident to show how LMPD officers violate the Fourth Amendment.
What LMPD did: In September 2022, more than three years after the incident, Chief Shields determined three officers had violated LMPD’s warrantless search policy. Two of those officers, Patrick Schultz and Eric Owen, had left the force already and were therefore not punished. The third, Troy Best, received a two-day suspension. Another six officers were cleared of violating the warrantless search policy. Shields determined that allegations that another officer was discourteous were “unfounded.”
Officers Carina Ansaldo, Donald Miller, Anthony Elliott and Brooklyn Sharpey
What the DOJ said: After receiving the description of a physical description of a suspect in a stabbing, officers entered the apartment of a woman uninvolved in the stabbing and detained her for two hours. The DOJ used this incident, which was first reported on by LEO Weekly in February 2023, to illustrate how LMPD conducts warrantless searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
What LMPD did: In December 2021, LMPD Chief Shields determined that four officers — Carina Ansaldo, Donald Miller, Anthony Elliott and Brooklyn Sharpey — had violated LMPD’s warrantless search policy and its policy on restraint of subjects not under arrest. Citing the length of time that had passed since the incident (which occurred in July 2020), the officers’ lack of disciplinary history and their relative inexperience at the time, Shields suspended each officer for one day.
Detectives Clayton Poff and Noah Straman
What the DOJ said: While a Black woman was changing her baby’s diaper in a car parked in an alley behind her family’s home, officers approached her, then pulled her out of the car and kneeled on her neck for 30 seconds. She then lost consciousness. She was charged with “obstructing governmental operations” and “obstructing a highway,” though those charges were later dropped. Officers also detained the woman’s brother and kept him locked in a police cruiser for more than 30 minutes, despite him not committing a crime. The DOJ used this incident to illustrate how LMPD arrests people who have not committed any crime and then cite offenses without providing evidence of the offenses.
What LMPD did: In July 2022, more than three years after the incident, Chief Shields determined Detectives Clayton Poff and Noah Straman had each violated multiple LMPD policies. Straman was the officer who kneeled on the woman’s neck. Poff used force as well, and additionally refused to allow the woman’s family to recover a diaper bag or clothing for the woman’s child after the mother was taken away by EMS. Poff was suspended for 10 days. Straman was suspended for eight days.
Officer Raymond Wonka
What the DOJ said: During a traffic stop for a motorist who was allegedly speeding, an officer detained a woman who had two 1-year-old children in the car. The officer cuffed her and kept her in his police cruiser for 15 minutes while her children were unattended. The DOJ said he told internal affairs he believed the woman to be armed and dangerous because of her “furtive movements.”
What LMPD did: In June 2021, Chief Shields found Officer Raymond Wonka violated four LMPD policies dealing with traffic stops, searches of persons and vehicles and field interview procedures. He was cleared of violating the department’s policies on pursuits, use of physical force and appropriate action. He was suspended for three days. The case was ruled on more than two years after the incident occurred.
Lt. J. Kit Steimle
What the DOJ said: To lead the now-defunct Violent Incident Prevention, Enforcement and Response (VIPER) Unit that focused on “hot spots” of crime, LMPD chose a lieutenant who had faced discipline for racist comments. The lieutenant used a slur when describing a fellow officer and told him: “That’s why we killed all your people with the bomb back in Japan.” He later resigned after an investigation found VIPER officers displayed pornographic materials in their office and the lieutenant “regularly exposed himself to other officers ‘as a joke.’” The DOJ shared the account to show how LMPD knew about discriminatory policing in its ranks and adopted practices that increased the risk of discrimination.
What LMPD did: The LMPD website did not provide additional details on the racist comments, instead linking to an investigation into the shooting of David McAtee, the Black barbecue chef who was shot and killed after LMPD and Kentucky National Guard troops moved into the West End to enforce a curfew on June 1, 2020, amid protests. The Professional Standards Unit investigated Lieutenant J. Kit Steimle for violations of policies of conduct unbecoming, obedience to rules investigation, performance of members and responsibility, authority and delegation related to the pornography and the lieutenant exposing himself. He was found to have violated three of those policies, but Steimle had retired, so the case was closed. According to LMPD investigators, Steimle said he displayed his genitals in the VIPER office, including to subordinates, in a move he called the “Texas Belt Buckle” and that he considered it a joke.
Detective Kevin Crawford
What DOJ said: During a 2018 traffic stop of a Black teenager, a detective told the teen’s mother that they were told by the chief’s office to patrol the “18th Street Corridor, California, Park, Victory Park [and] Park Hill,” which are predominantly Black areas. The traffic stop, identified by The Courier Journal as involving Tae-Ahn Lea, was highly publicized at the time.
What LMPD did: LMPD investigated Detective Kevin Crawford over the stop, probing whether he had violated policies on strategies and tactics of patrol stops and warrantless searches. However, the case was closed by Gentry in November 2020 following Crawford’s resignation. Gentry noted, however, that the allegations would have been “not sustained.” In September 2022, a federal judge ruled that Lea’s constitutional rights were violated in the stop.
Background: Louisville police spent 2 years investigating teen’s traffic stop, then quietly dropped it
What the DOJ said: In 2019, LMPD learned that officers of the Ninth Mobile Division, which is how the VIPER Unit was “rebranded,” had not completed any vehicle stop forms for 2018, despite telling investigators it was their practice to create records about stops. In 2020, LMPD gave 23 Ninth Mobile officers written reprimands about their failures to document stops.
What LMPD did: In its document release on Friday, The Courier Journal counted 17 letters of reprimand informing officers they had violated the policy of not documenting stops. An additional seven letters informed officers they had not violated the policy.
Detectives Joshua Doerr, Kevin Crawford and Sgt. William Keeling
What the DOJ said: A Black couple that was stopped after church raised allegations of racial profiling. LMPD investigators exonerated the officers, saying one of the officers had a close relationship with “a minority” officer on the force. The DOJ included the case to highlight how LMPD downplayed signs of racial discrimination
What LMPD did: In March 2020, Chief Conrad determined Detective Joshua Doerr had violated LMPD’s pat-down search procedure policy in the stop and was suspended for one day. He was exonerated of violating the consent to search policy, and it was determined he also did not breach the officer responsibility policy. Another officer, Detective Kevin Crawford, had his investigation closed by exception because he had already left the force, but Conrad wrote that he would have been cleared of wrongdoing. A third officer, Sgt. William Keeling, was also found to not have violated any policies.
Detective George Campos
What the DOJ said: LMPD launched an internal investigation into the traffic stop of a Black man after The Courier Journal wrote about a state court ruling that determined the man was unlawfully detained. The court said citizens driving in Louisville’s Black-majority West End received “a lesser degree of constitutional protection.” In the resulting investigation, an LMPD investigator said the court was “uninformed” and called its statement “a gratuitous editorial.” The incident was used to highlight how LMPD downplays signs of racial discrimination within its ranks.
What LMPD did: In October 2020, nearly four years after the traffic stop, interim Chief Gentry ruled that Detective George Campos had not violated LMPD’s policies on obedience to rules and regulations, strategies and tactics of patrol stops or special circumstances. As such, no discipline was issued.
Officer Donald Miller
What the DOJ said: At least seven LMPD officers responded to a white man “with a likely behavioral health disability” who was sleeping outside a building. He told officers he did not want to go to a hospital. When he cursed, one LMPD officer said threatened to beat him “…right here in front of everybody.” LMPD officers eventually used force, taking him to the ground. They charged him with criminal trespass, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, menacing and terroristic threatening. The DOJ used the case to illustrate how LMPD discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities.
What LMPD did: In August 2021, Chief Shields determined Officer Donald Miller violated the department’s courtesy and de-escalation policies. He was suspended for two days. Shields exonerated him on the accusation that he violated LMPD’s use-of-force policy.
Officer Charles Mathieson
What the DOJ said: Officers made inappropriate comments to a man with a “likely behavioral health disability” who frequently called 911. As officers took him to a psychiatric hospital, they mocked him and made inappropriate comments. According to the DOJ, the actions of the officers escalated the situation and when the man tried to enter the hospital prematurely, officers “took him down and restrained him, leading to an injury.” The DOJ used the case to illustrate how LMPD discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities.
What LMPD did: In 2019, Chief Conrad determined Officer Charles Mathieson had violated LMPD’s courtesy policy as well as its body cam policy. He received a letter of reprimand and was not suspended.
Officers Matthew Aden, Devin Dawes and Christopher Bruce
What the DOJ said: After officers were called to respond to people using drugs in an abandoned home, officers encountered a man “who was likely experiencing a behavioral health crisis.” The man was clutching a screwdriver, but nobody was near him. At least five officers advanced on him, shouting commands. According to the DOJ, “with minimal if any de-escalation attempted” the man was fatally shot by officers. The DOJ used the incident to highlight how LMPD escalates situations and fails to give people in crisis time or space to de-escalate.
What LMPD did: In July 2019, Chief Conrad wrote that Officers Matthew Aden and Devin Dawes were exonerated on charges they violated LMPD’s de-escalation and use-of-deadly-force policies. As such, they received no punishment. Conrad determined Officer Christopher Bruce violated the department’s body camera policy in the incident and issued a letter of reprimand.
Detective Brian Bailey
What DOJ found: A woman reported a narcotics detective was having sex with her daughter, whom he had charged with drug possession, and was similarly exploiting two other women, including sending photos of his genitalia to her and leveraging her charges to coerce her into sending him photos of herself. The investigator lost track of the victim and closed the investigation without additional investigation, including trying to locate other victims. Five years later, three other victims came forward with similar accusations — this time, the investigator came to the conclusion the detective had targeted victims for sexual coercion. The detective resigned before an administrative investigation could be completed, and the Commonwealth’s Attorney later declined to prosecute him, citing an expired statute of limitations.
What LMPD did: According to a January 2017 LMPD memorandum, the department was made aware of an allegation the previous January that Detective Brian Bailey was in a sexual relationship with a woman he’d arrested on drug charges in the past who now worked as an informant. The tip came from the woman’s mother, who was unable to provide evidence. They later came into contact with the woman’s daughter, who denied being in an inappropriate relationship with Bailey but said she “considers him a friend.” That memo concluded there was no evidence of wrongdoing, noting Bailey declined to provide a statement “as is his right to do so.” In June 2021, a Professional Standards Investigation was opened concerning Bailey’s behavior, and in November 2021, Chief Shields said the case had been “closed by exception” because of Bailey’s resignation, but she said the investigation would have been sustained, and he would have been fired if he were he still on the force.
Officer William Mayo
What DOJ found: In 2020, a federal court found an LMPD officer had violated the Fourth Amendment by searching a car without probable cause. An investigation was opened, but an investigator deemed the alleged violation as unfounded, calling the federal court’s analysis “presumptuous and not a defined conclusion.” The case was closed by LMPD 21 months after the court’s decision, with no discipline. If police find no violations and impose no discipline even when courts rule they had obtained evidence unconstitutionally, “officers will assume that their actions have been approved by their superiors.”
What LMPD did: In October 2021, Chief Shields told Officer William Mayo an investigation into alleged false testimony in federal court regarding a traffic stop that had been initiated the previous year had been deemed unfounded and no disciplinary action would take place. The case stemmed from a situation in which Mayo had said in an investigative report that a search in the traffic stop had taken place, in part, because he had smelled marijuana when it had actually been initiated because of an open container, which is not a valid cause to start a search.
Officers Tom Pugh and Trever Blakley
What DOJ said: In 2017, a Black man discarded a gun as he fled from two officers, both white. The officers yelled “Gimme your arm, boy” as they wrestled him to the ground and struck him with their knees and elbows. They continued striking and cursing him after he yelled, “I’m down!” and said, “I can’t breathe!” His face was bleeding in multiple places. While he was lying on the ground, one of the officers said, “This is what happens to you when you act like a (expletive) thug.” When the man denied he had a gun, the officer said, “That’s the problem with this community, nobody wants to take a stand for what they did.” DOJ said officers were “verbally counseled” for vulgar language, but their use of force was found to be justified.
What LMPD did: Chief Conrad found the officers did not use inappropriate language. No disciplinary action was taken, and they were exonerated by the department.
Officer Andrea Anthony
What DOJ said: During in-service training, multiple people reported a white officer said: “We have a Black and white issue in this city,” with minorities committing the majority of violent crime. Black officers called the comments “shocking,” the DOJ said.
What LMPD did: “Despite considerable evidence of racial bias,” LMPD investigators examined only whether there was “conduct unbecoming,” not potential bias or prejudice. No violations were found, and no discipline was imposed on Officer Andrea Anthony. Chief Gentry deemed it “not sustained.”
Officer Nathaniel Richardson
What DOJ found: After a pursuit of a Black driver, an officer shoved his head to the ground when he no longer posed a threat, grabbed him by the dreadlocks, and cuffed him along the side of the road. He also threatened to treat him “like a (expletive) animal” if he refused to move.
What LMPD did: A sergeant counseled Officer Nathaniel Richardson on “courtesy, tactics and conduct unbecoming” but a lieutenant recommended no further action. Chief Shields exonerated him for prejudice but found he had pointed his firearm at the suspect’s vehicle during a pursuit on Interstate 64. She found he was “careless with firearm” and suspended him without pay for 10 days.
Officer Cory Evans
What DOJ said: An officer used guilt-by-association to punish lawful protesters for actions of unlawful ones during 2020 protests in Louisville. He was eventually federally convicted of assaulting one kneeling protester. The DOJ said LMPD had failed to punish Evans for multiple other violations, and he had repeatedly engaged in misconduct.
What LMPD did: A man said Officer Cory Evans hit him in the back of the head while he posed no threat during a protest. Complaints of a weapons violation and disobedience to rules were dismissed because Evans resigned. He would have been fired if he hadn’t quit. The city included eight additional PSU cases that cannot be reviewed.
Detective Steve Farmer
What DOJ said: An officer grabbed a nonviolent protester’s throat while police were dispersing a crowd in September 2020 and pinned her against the trunk of his vehicle.
What LMPD did: Police initiated an investigation, but Detective Steve Farmer quit. He would have been disciplined had he not resigned, Chief Shields ruled.
Officer Aaron Ambers
What DOJ found: In April 2021, a Black man who posed no safety threat was standing on a Jefferson Square Park sidewalk holding a large cross and protesting police violence when nine officers arrived to arrest him for obstructing a roadway. Officers pulled the man by both arms and mistakenly assumed he was resisting. Four officers then forcefully took him to the ground, with one pulling him by the hair and another punching him in the head, breaking his glasses and causing a serious eye injury.
What LMPD said: Officer Aaron Ambers initially was accused of violating rules on use of force and deescalation but was exonerated for both. Chief Shields ordered the officers involved to have more training on deescalation and use of martial arts. She said officers could have made better decisions, but three of them knew the subject and his potential to be volatile.
Officer Katie Crews
What DOJ found: In a “tragic case,” an LMPD officer pleaded guilty to federal charges after firing nonlethal rounds without warning at a peaceful crowd and then directly at a woman as she ran for cover. That woman’s uncle, David McAtee, fired twice in the air in response before being shot and killed.
What LMPD said: Officer Katie Crews was fired for her actions and was deemed to have violated department policy by posting language on social media leading up to the shooting which could be construed as promoting violence. Her conduct “severely damaged the image of our Department we have established with our community.”
More: Ex-Louisville Metro Police officer gets probation in case tied to David McAtee’s death
Officer Darrell Wagner, Officer Livers, Officer Marson
What the DOJ said: While investigating a robbery allegedly committed by two Black men, LMPD detained a 21-year-old Black man and a 17-year-old white man who were in a similar-looking vehicle (though it did not match the color of the suspects’ vehicle). The Black man viewed their stop as a case of racial profiling and was initially uncooperative. According to the DOJ, “in response to verbal aggression” officers handcuffed the man and pepper-sprayed him. The DOJ said officers also “took a forearm to his neck” and “shoved” him into an unventilated patrol car. The DOJ said the officers were not investigated, let alone disciplined. The case was included by the DOJ to illustrate LMPD engaging in “retaliatory practices against lawful, verbal challenges to police actions.”
What LMPD did: In November 2022, Chief Shields determined Officer Darrell Wagner had violated LMPD’s policies on field interview procedures and de-escalation in the stop. He was suspended for two days. Two other officers — identified in a Professional Standards Unit investigation as Officer Marson and Officer Livers — did not appear to be a subject of the investigation, despite reportedly using force on the man.
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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: LMPD reports on incidents often didn’t align with DOJ’s review