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KSP: Body camera video related to deadly LMPD officer-involved shooting to be released

A man was shot and killed on Sunday, November 22 by an LMPD officer. The agency asked Kentucky State Police to conduct the investigation into the shooting.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A week after a deadly officer-involved shooting in Louisville, the Kentucky State Police said they'll release the body cam video related to the incident. 

The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) requested Kentucky State Police (KSP) to investigate an officer-involved shooting on Sunday, November 22. 

Saturday, November 28, KSP announced it will release the video. "KSP is committed to being transparent while ensuring the integrity of the investigation. Initial interviews of critical witnesses have been completed and the LMPD body camera footage will be released on Monday, November 30," the agency said in a news release. 

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LMPD Chief Yvette Gentry said an officer, who hasn't been identified, shot 49-year-old Brian Thurman during a traffic stop, when pulling over what was believed to be a stolen car.

For the first time, Kentucky State Police is now investigating the officer-involved incident, and unlike in the past the body camera video, which does exist in this shooting, isn't being released as quickly.

"Remember why we're doing this. We want an outside agency to investigate officer-involved shootings so that there's not an agency investigating itself. That was one of the issues that came out of the Breonna Taylor tragedy," Mayor Greg Fischer said Tuesday. 

The change in policy was announced over the summer in the wake of Breonna Taylor's and David McAtee's deaths. LMPD's procedure as part of its Public integrity Unit investigations process, was to release body camera footage and the officers' names within 24 hours of the incident.

"We discussed that with KSP. Originally they agreed to it but then they said we are not going to be able to do that given logistical challenges," Fischer said. 

This agreement was finalized October 20, which states stated KSP will take at least 72 hours to release information. KSP's public affairs commander said  details of an investigation won't be shared until "vital witnesses have been interviewed and pertinent facts gathered."

See the full agreement between KSP and LMPD below:

In a statement, Sgt. Bill Gregory wrote, "KSP will follow KSP’s standards of procedures while handling the investigation...It is Kentucky State Police policy not to release body camera video until vital witnesses can be interviewed and pertinent facts gathered. Generally, this can be done within 72 hours unless the complexity of the investigation requires more time."

When asked about KSP's investigation during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Andy Beshear said it is his "understanding" the body camera footage will be released. 

"There is one or two steps they have to accomplish over the next day or so that need to be done before that release but I have full expectation it will be released to the public," Beshear said. 

Chair of Metro Council's public safety committee, Councilwoman Jessica Green, (D-1), said she has concerns about the length of time KSP takes to release information. 

"We want more transparency not less. We want access to information quicker and not in a longer period of time," she said. "The idea that that could somehow be dialed back is very, very frustrating."

Green said as the city has pushed for increased transparency and accountability with LMPD, she doesn't want to see those efforts move "backwards." Green said she spoke with the mayor about her concerns Tuesday. 

"He indicated he completely understood and understood the sensitive nature of these officer involved shootings and I think he does endorse the idea of them moving forward, so according to him those conversations are going to continue with KSP to see if perhaps that pendulum can be shifted a bit," Green said. 

While she said the 72-hour policy as it stands now "sends the wrong message to citizens," she said it was "likely an unintended consequence."

In a statement late Tuesday night from the mayor's office, a spokesperson said, "It is important to remember that we pursued this agreement with KSP as a short-term initiative on the path to restoring trust between LMPD and our community."

"We will review the process as we go. And as we’ve said from the start, there are many long-term options for moving forward, including the possible creation of a multi-agency task force to work throughout the state, and those options remain on the table," the statement continued. 

The mayor's spokeswoman, Jean Porter, said the city had made a formal agreement with KSP about the agency taking over officer-involved investigations. 

"KSP later advised that the agreement was mistakenly signed and needed to be revoked, pending changes requested by the state Justice Cabinet – but agreed to serve as investigating agency for critical incidents, including officer-involved shootings, that arose before a new agreement could be reached," Porter wrote. "Our initial agreement with KSP called for keeping to our past practice of releasing body cam footage expeditiously after an incident. In this case, KSP said they could not meet our timeline while protecting the integrity of the investigation, though the Justice Cabinet clarified they anticipate being able to do so within 72 hours of the incident."

Porter said the city is continuing to work with KSP on a new, formal agreement. 

"It's important this body camera evidence is seen by the community so they can understand what took place in any given tragedy, such as this," Fischer said. 

Fischer said he believes KSP should release the body camera footage by late Wednesday night, which would mark the 72-hour window since the shooting take place. 

The River City FOP also released a statement Tuesday night, writing:

"The FOP has complete and total confidence in the LMPD PIU investigating our officer involved shootings. Likewise, the FOP also has complete confidence in the KSP investigating LMPD officer involved shootings. We believe that any and all release of information and evidence, including body camera video, should be done so according to KSP procedures if they are leading the investigation.

The FOP believes that body camera evidence should never be released until all potential witnesses have been contacted and interviewed. The FOP does not believe that releasing body camera evidence within 24 hours, regardless of the situation, is a best practice because it does not take into account protecting the integrity of an investigation."

Editor's note: The story previously stated the agreement between LMPD and Kentucky State Police came in the wake of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee's deaths by police. While Breonna Taylor was killed by an LMPD officer, an investigation found David McAtee was killed by a national guardsman.

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