In response to a violent arrest of a black, Louisville man, a group of Louisville organizations and residents Wednesday sharply rebuked what they said is the historic mistreatment of people of color by Louisville police.
“Black and Brown people are held in lower esteem than animals because even dogs in Louisville are protected from the sort of abuse we are subjected to,” according to a statement released Wednesday by the group, which includes the Louisville Urban League, ACLU of Kentucky, Black Lives Matter – Louisville, Simmons College of Kentucky and 30 other individuals and organizations.
The group asked for a review of Louisville Metro Police Department’s use of force, the termination of the officers involved in the recent arrest and for officers to undergo “implicit bias training.”
The training should be consistent and ongoing, the statement said, and led by instructors who meet the approval of concerned citizens. “Armed and dangerous White men and women have been successfully taken into custody without force,” the statement said.
A police spokesperson, Jessie Halladay, said in a statement: “LMPD appreciates community concerns around use of force. Each Incident involving force is documented and investigated. LMPD is committed to fair policing. We hold officers accountable for actions violating our policies and the law. Our policy contains clear guidance on de-escalation expectations. We conduct implicit bias training regularly with our officers. We continue to provide additional de-escalation training for all officers.”
The group’s call to action is in response to the arrest of Jarrus Ransom. The black man was held to the ground by LMPD officers and repeatedly punched by one of them on Sunday. The arrest was captured on video by a bystander.
“We have repeatedly examined the video of the police beating of Jarrus Ransom and we can find no justification for such abuse. The criminal record of Mr. [Ransom] is known to us and has nothing to do with the irresponsible and dangerous behavior that the police engaged in,” according to the statement.
Ransom was originally stopped at the Kroger on 27th Street and Broadway for having tinted windows, according to the Courier Journal. Police said that after officers discovered three pills in a drink of Ransom’s, he attempted to flee, but was caught and brought to the ground.
Ransom had been charged on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence, resisting arrest, excessive window tinting and failure to wear a seat belt. LMPD has launched a Professional Standards Unit investigation to determine if any policies were violated.
When residents see a police stop, they must start recording officers while declaring, “phone’s out” and be aware of bystander-intervention tactics, according to the statement.
The statement from justice-seeking residents acknowledged that use of force is supported by police policy, but pointed out that it’s often handed out only to people of color.
“For example, the White supremacist that killed 2 Black Louisville residents at Kroger was taken into custody unharmed, and without incident. . . gun in hand,” the statement read. “While “reasonable” use of force is a policy, the police have been discriminatory in when and who they decide to use force on.”
The group said they saw emotional manipulation and gang mentality in LMPD’s treatment of black and brown communities instead of de-escalation.
They expect “integrity and timeliness” in LMPD’s ongoing population.
The statement is signed “Those in search of Justice for all Black and Brown People.”
The group includes:
Louisville Urban League
Hannah L. Drake
Timothy Findley, Jr.
Dave W. Christopher, Sr.
Black Lives Matter, Louisville
ACLU of Kentucky
Dr. F. Bruce Williams
Simmons College of Kentucky
St. Stephen Church
Louisville Branch NAACP
Watson Memorial Baptist Church
Play Cousins Collective
Abolish ICE Louisville
Resistencia Cuarenta-y Cinco
Rhythm Science Sound
Kentucky Alliance Against
Racist and Political Repression
Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Justice
Immigrant Student Group
Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Define American, Cardinal Chapter
Jefferson County KFTC
Louisville Youth Group
Louisville Coalition for CEDAW
Bates Memorial Baptist Church
Bates Memorial Community Development Corporation
Sowers of Justice
Brothers Helping Brothers