Two former Louisville police officers pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to violate the rights of Louisville citizens through the arbitrary use of force when they drove around throwing “large beverages” at pedestrians in 2018 and 2019, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.
According to the DOJ, Bryan Wilson, 36, and Curt Flynn, 40, would go on the police radio and announce “someone was thirsty” or “thirsty fam” before throwing beverages, including their contents, at civilians from their unmarked Louisville Metro Police Department vehicle.
“On many occasions, the civilian was hit with the beverage, and on at least one occasion, a civilian was knocked down to the ground from the impact of being hit with the beverage and the container,” the DOJ said in a press release.
The DOJ said Wilson and Flynn would record the incidents themselves on cell phones. Sometimes, other people in trailing LMPD vehicles would record. The videos, the DOJ said, were shared among members of their unit.
Wilson also pleaded guilty to a cyberstalking charge in a separate case where, according to the DOJ, he “identified computer applications belonging to women and hacked those computer applications and stole compromising photographs, videos and other information.” Wilson, the DOJ said, would then contact the women via text message to try to extort them into giving him more compromising material.
Wilson faces a maximum sentence of 15 years. Flynn faces a maximum sentence of ten years. Sentencing is scheduled in September.
In a statement on Tuesday, LMPD chief Erika Shields said the actions of Flynn and Wilson are “reprehensible, sickening and do not reflect the core values of LMPD.”
She added: “Their behavior was demoralizing and dehumanizing to the victims. On behalf of this agency, I wish to express my sincere apologies to those affected.”
Shields said that Wilson resigned in July 2020 and Flynn resigned today. She said that LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit would conduct an internal investigation to determine “what level of knowledge or involvement anyone else may have had about these incidents.”
In June of last year, LMPD chief Erika Shields told Metro Council members that two officers were under FBI investigation for throwing “slushies” and drinks at people in Louisville’s predominantly Black West End.
“My sense is it will be another black eye to the department, and it’s going to show some very, very poor judgement by a select few individuals on this department,” she said at the time.
On Tuesday, Shields said she learned of the FBI investigation in May of last year and immediately rescinded Flynn’s police powers “to restrict his interactions with the public” as the investigation continued.
While under FBI investigation, Flynn remained on LMPD’s payroll however; So far this year, he pulled in more than $32,000, according to city records.
In February, a former LMPD officer was sentenced to two years in federal prison for striking a surrendering, kneeling protester in the head with a riot stick in 2020. And in March, former LMPD officer Katie Crews was federally charged with for her use of a pepper ball gun in the moments leading up to West End BBQ chef David McAtee’s June 2020 death.
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