Police

In Wake of Fatal Shooting, Louisville Cops Shut Down Station Rather Than Meet With Local Police-Reform Advocates

Recent incidents in Louisville reflect a wave of "officer-involved shootings" and community-cop issues in Kentucky and Southern Ohio cities.

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LMPD

Activists are asking the city of Louisville, Kentucky, for reform in its "interactions with its citizens of color." Last week's fatal shooting of Deng Manyoun by a Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officer, followed by a local police union president calling protesters "race-baiters" whom the community should "rise up" against, are the latest incidents in what some locals describe as "comply or die" behavior from Louisville cops.

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 13, Officer Nathan Blanford encountered Manyoun, a 35-year-old Sudanese immigrant who didn't speak English, while investigating a call about an assault in historic Old Louisville. A resident of the neighborhood, Manyoun was stumbling in the street as if he were drunk. It's unclear whether Manyoun was stopped by Blanford because he was thought to be a suspect in the assault or because he appeared intoxicated. Video of the incident from a store surveillance camera shows the two men arguing, then Manyoun walking away. He returns into the frame wielding a flagpole (complete with red-and-blue striped "Open" sign) grabbed from the front of a nearby smoke shop. Manyoun can be seen running at the officer while swinging the pole. It breaks in half as the officer backs away and fires his gun twice at Manyoun, who later died in the hospital.

BustedMugshots.com

At a meeting the next day, members of activist group Stand Up Sundays questioned why Blanford didn't try to stop Manyoun with a Taser, mace, or a baton first. "De-escalation tactics are not used when it comes to people of color," said Tara Pruitt at the meeting, covered by The Post-Courier. "The officer went first to kill a man with his gun," said organizer Chanelle Helm. "He did not subdue him."

At a press conference, Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad defended his officers' actions. "Quite frankly, when you've got somebody coming at you with a dangerous instrument of that type… I don't know… that the officer had the opportunity to transition to a less lethal option," he said.

Soon thereafter, a letter released by a local Fraternal Order of Police chapter called the activists "sensationalists, liars and race-baiters" and suggested that people might have to "rise up" against them. "Your ridiculous demands and anti-law enforcement attitude has reached a level that is unacceptable," wrote David Mutchler, a police sergeant and FOP chapter president. "You want our attention? Well you have it. Consider yourselves on notice."

In response, protesters headed to the LMPD Monday, June 22, to deliver a list of "demands seeking greater transparency in policing activities and higher standards of accountability." These included things like requiring any officers involved in fatal shootings to give a recorded statement within 48 hours, speeding up the implementation of police body cameras, and firing Mutchler. But when activists arrived at police headquarters, they found the doors locked.

LMPD

"We had received information that the protesters planned to come into the headquarters building and occupy the building," Conrad told local news station WAVE 3. "We had additional intelligence that indicated that there was at least the potential for violence."

"It is unconscionable for the Metro Police Department to opt to close down operations at their headquarters, rather than engage with community members who have peacefully united to demonstrate their First Amendment rights," said former city councilwoman Attica Scott in a statement. "This cowardice does not lead to positive change for the betterment of our entire community–it only hinders our capability to make progress on issues of policing and racial justice."

Last December, The New York Times reported on the evolution of community-cop relations in Louisville: "Louisville, 270 miles east of Ferguson, had its fraught Michael Brown moment, or moments, when several young black men died in police shootings from 1999 to 2004. Interactions between the police and black residents have improved since then, people here say, but remain a work in progress."

Elizabeth Brown

In nearby Cincinnati, Ohio—a place with close cultural and economic ties to Louisville—the picture is similarly filled with starts and stops. After a U.S. Justice Department investigation and consent decree in the early 2000s, the city has embarked on a series of significant reforms that have transformed community-cop relations from totally poisoned to merely tense. A May 2015 profile in The Atlantic explores this transformation, noting that "the city that once served as a prime example of broken policing now stands as a model of effective reform," but "the lessons of Cincinnati are complicated. Success required not just the adoption of a new method of policing, but also sustained pressure from federal officials, active support by the mayor, and the participation of local communities. If Cincinnati is a model of reform, then it is equally a sobering reminder of how difficult it can be to change entrenched systems."

I was in Cincinnati, my hometown, last week. When I arrived, the radio in my dad's truck was tuned to talk radio, where some conservative host was blasting the "communists, anarchists," and other no-goodniks who were feared to be descending from nearby big cities to agitate. The (unfounded) fear turned out to be in response to the fatal June 10th shooting of 22-year-old Quandavier Hicks by a Cincinnati cop, who had showed up at Hicks' Northside house after a woman accused him of harassment. Officers say Hicks reached for a rifle before they shot him.

A few days before I left town, Cincinnati was once again in an uproar over a shootout that left one officer and one civilian dead in the inner-ring suburb of Madisonville. The civilian, 21-year-old Trepierre Hummons, called 911 to report a person with a gun acting erratically; he failed to mention that person was himself. When cops showed up, Hummons opened fire, hitting 48-year-old Officer Sonny Kim. Both Kim and Hummons died later at the hospital. Hummons had been texting friends about plans to commit suicide by cop but none of them notified police, lamented Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.

Lexington, Kentucky—about 90 minutes from both Cincinnati and Louisville—has also had several fatal shootings by city police in the past year. And all three cities have seen a recent spate of homicides and shootings in general. Just last night, an anti-violence march in downtown Cincinnati was halted by three men shooting at one another at a playground, resulting in the death of an 18-year-old.

Some have worried than an alleged "epidemic" of heroin and prescription opiate use in these areas has led to increased violence; whether or not that's true, the issue has definitely led to more police patrols and investigations, as well as cries to increase penalties for heroin possession and sale. Anti-heroin activists have complained that proposals focus too much on finding and punishing users rather than addressing underlying addiction via community services. 

NEXT: Rand Paul Backs Confederate Flag Removal, Calls It Symbol of Racism and Murder

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  1. (Stupidity) + (Cowardice & Immunity) = Police Shooting.

    1. Isn’t that exactly how they phrase it in the recruitment literature?

  2. Is there anywhere in the USA where police aren’t armed?

    1. What’s the point of being in the gang if you aren’t armed?

  3. At a press conference, Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad defended his officers’ actions. “Quite frankly, when you’ve got somebody coming at you with a dangerous instrument of that type? I don’t know? that the officer had the opportunity to transition to a less lethal option,” he said.

    Once again, they’re missing the point. In the circumstance, if you ignore everything else, the shooting was probably justifiable. But it never had to go that far, and the officer provoked things and made the wrong decision at every turn that led to that moment

    1. Yeah, it isn’t ‘transitioning to a less lethal option’ that’s the problem.
      The problem is that he already ‘transitioned to a lethal option’.

      1. Yes, the guy was obviously intoxicated and a suspect. The cop was just a little too casual. He should have immediately secured and cuffed the suspect rather than allow him to walk away and grab the flag pole. Dumb.

        1. Don’t know about that but I do know that if I attack a police officer with a flagpole I’m probably going to get shot….and then shot again.

          1. It’s impossible to defend against flag poles!

            Ducking, moving to the side, casually deflecting it with your arm, hitting it with your nightstick, NOTHING!

      2. You NEVER transition to a “less lethal” option when dealing with a potentially lethal weapon, idiots.

    2. Yeah while the shooting might not have been the optimal response it is hard to argue that the shooting wasn’t justified.

      The issue just like with the Michael Brown case is that there is absolutely no expectation that the officer will try to avoid a confrontation by any means necessary short of abandoning his duties.

      The issue here is not that the officer shot the guy dead, the issue here is why did the officer allow the confrontation to escalate to this level

      1. “The issue here is not that the officer shot the guy dead, the issue here is why did the officer allow the confrontation to escalate to this level.”

        Normally I 100% agree with this. But if he’s responding to an assault complaint from a woman describing this guy I don’t know how else he’s supposed to do his job and not confront the suspect. He’s responding to a report of violence. I don’t think it’s beyond the pale for him to anticipate a violent response. He didn’t come out and blast this guy Tamir Rice style. He tried to talk to him (what he said would be interesting to know) and didn’t shoot until he had a flagpole being swung at him.

        1. I don’t think the cop did anything criminally wrong, but administratively, he should be fired for allowing the situation to get to that point.

          The Union will be a significant issue with that course of action, though.

          1. What the ?*&??! do you base your opinion on? Some tv show? How about THE SUSPECT caused the situation to get to that point!!!!!!! How about that guy is RESPONSIBLE for his own behavior!!!!

    3. Wait….. the officer provoked things? How….. and what wrong decisions did he make? How would you have handled it? My guess is you’re watching too much TV because you would likely have gotten yourself killed in that situation.

  4. Can we just shut down Ohio and Kentucky altogether? I can think of several problems that would solve.

    1. Please tell me you’re talking about NutraSweet and Warty.

      1. NutraSweet and Warty? What an enticing combination!

        *licks lips*

      2. As usual Epi, you’re the cure for subtlety.

        1. Please tell me you’re talking about what I said just above.

          1. Hey! KY is responsible for electing Rand Paul and Thomas Massie, plus BOURBON.

            Fuck you guys!

  5. Nathan Blanford, Manyoun, Channelle Helm, Mutchler, Attica Scott Scott, Quandavier, Treppier Hummons, Sonny Kim.

    It’s a goddam melting pot, for sure.

    I don’t know, it’s stupid… I find humor in names.

    1. This is a particularly melting-pot-esque bunch

    2. You had me at Quandavier

  6. The police were responding to an assault complaint filed by a woman that described Manyoun. What went on between the cop and Manyoun outside of the video camera I have zippy idea. What I’m a little reluctant to fault a cop for is shooting someone who is running at them swinging a fucking flagpole. I’ve always maintained that if you have more than one cop on the scene, one should attempt to employ a less-than-lethal device. In this case I have a harder time faulting the cop as he was on his own.

    The letter issued by the FOP on the other hand is completely disgusting and likely caused much more of a ruckus than this otherwise would have. I would like to think the police would allow the protesters the opportunity to voice their concerns (some of their proposals are excellent ideas), if not inside the building then outside (friends in Louisville told me they’ve already had community outreach meetings to do just that).

    1. The letter issued by the FOP on the other hand is completely disgusting and likely caused much more of a ruckus than this otherwise would have

      The shooting does not seem especially egregious, at least compared to something like the New Mexico lunatic camper dick shot, but the response from the police is pathetic.

      1. I suppose nothing written by the FOP or the police unions should shock me. It really says something that this letter did. It was everything but an actual overt threat of retaliation if people did just STFU and obey.

        1. It shocks you because FOP spokespeople seem to be the most purely distilled version of the cop attitude of being basically a different species than “civilians”. They say the things that most cops think, but only the FOP people are out of touch enough to say it out loud. Think about that.

          1. “They say the things that most cops think, but only the FOP people are out of touch enough to say it out loud. Think about that.”

            First I thought. Then I shivered.

        2. I agree 100%. It is mind-bottling that a supposed public servant would freely put something like that out to the public.

          1. Is this waste of oxygen actually a cop? I thought FOP was where you went after you got kicked off the force.

    2. The proposals by people who have no idea how to do the job are plain ridiculous. They have no idea how to do police work, and they have jumped on the bandwagon that every use of force is based on race. They wouldn’t last 2 minutes in any police “scenario” training where paint balls are used, let alone on the streets where REAL LIFE happens in a split second. The public and media have largely given in to the lie that everything is about race, and that every use of force is somehow preventable. Give it a break already. What makes use of force preventable?

      Don’t resist the police.
      Don’t commit crimes.
      Respect authority.

      1. in your own words, can you describe the taste of those boots you’re licking?

        1. Boots? I thought it was something warmer and harder.

      2. Don’t resist the police.
        Don’t commit crimes.
        Respect authority.

        So, you’re saying that “comply or die” should be the goal, and that “dominate and control” is and should be the mission statement of every police department?

        1. No, that’s not what I said.

      3. Respect my authoritai.
        Obey your betters, serf.
        FYTW!

  7. I’ve been out of the news cycle for a while, but I’m not 100% sure we should die on the hill of this shooting (I’ve been waiting all morning to type that).

    If someone is clearly attacking the officer, getting into a hand-to-hand situation is not… optimal, even if the suspect attacking the officer is not wielding a deadly weapon himself.

    But when someone who’s armed (even lightly) is physically attacking an officer, I’m not sure I’m going to criticize the lack of taser use.

    NEWCASTLE ? A veteran King County sheriff’s deputy was killed yesterday when a nude and highly agitated man who’d been running in traffic and pounding on cars took the officer’s gun and shot him repeatedly outside an apartment complex here.
    […]
    Witnesses and police said the deputy approached the man and sprayed him with pepper spray in an attempt to subdue him. The two scuffled and the man grabbed the officer’s gun.

    The deputy quickly realized he was in danger and began retreating, moving away from bystanders as if to draw any gunfire away from the crowd, according to a witness, William Dickerson. The man then repeatedly shot the deputy, who became the first law-enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in Washington this year.

    http://community.seattletimes……deputy23m0

    1. If someone is clearly attacking the officer, getting into a hand-to-hand situation is not… optimal, even if the suspect attacking the officer is not wielding a deadly weapon himself.

      For some reason, I hear Kirk battle music in my head when I read this.

      1. I hear Kirk battle music whenever I think of Barak Obama and the FKOTUS (First Klingon…) having marital relations.

        BO dresses up in a red shirt, and MO tosses him around the room a while before finally taking him in a violent and disturbing fashion.

        1. Thank you so very much for that image. Now I’m going to have to spend six hours looking at lesbian pron to get that image out of my head.

  8. How is they always find these one a thousand police shootings in which the shooting is either clearly justifiable or borderline to make a big fuss over, while the other ninety nine and an harf per cent where there’s no fucking way it could be justified get ignored by most the media? And always the race bit as well.

    1. You must be new around here.

      Because they are looking for cases that have the maximum potential to divide the community. How can you stir shit if you pick cases where everyone agrees?

      The protesters are about rabble-rousing, that is all.

      1. The protesters are about rabble-rousing, that is all.

        What’s the media, chopped liver?

    2. Yeah – I’m not feeling it on this one.

  9. “Your ridiculous demands and anti-law enforcement attitude has reached a level that is unacceptable,” wrote David Mutchler, a police sergeant and FOP chapter president. “You want our attention? Well you have it. Consider yourselves on notice.”

    The local taxpayers should feel grateful that they are paying his salary.

    1. This is what David Mutchler looks like? NO WAY!

      1. “You know, there was a time we’d take a guy like you out back and beat you with a hose; now you got your Goddamn unions.”

      2. This lumpy, potato-faced man has put you on notice!

      3. If there is a dude on Earth who looks more like a cop than David Mutchler, i don’t want to know about it.

    2. On notice for what, exactly? It sounds like, given the fatal nature of this event, Officer Friendly was making a threat for more of the same. If a protester had said that about the police I can only imagine the freakout that would ensue.

      1. Well he didn’t put woodchipper and judge in the same sentence, so he’s probably not gonna get a subpoena.

        Dammit!

      2. I can only imagine the freakout pantswetting that would ensue.

    3. Actually I thought that was the worst part of the article. Sounds like a certain NY prosecutor.

  10. He returns into the frame wielding a flagpole (complete with red-and-blue striped “Open” sign)

    Another flag post?

  11. “comply or die”

    When you fail to comply, the officer fears for his life. And we all know what happens after that.

  12. “You want our attention? Well you have it. Consider yourselves on notice.”

    That sounds like a threat to me. He seems to be telling protesters, “We’re watching you. Keep questioning our authority and we will shoot you too.”

    1. That’s how I read it, too. Too defiant, too angry. You’re just convincing everyone that you’re violent, retaliatory, and have something to hide.

  13. I don’t know how to feel about this.

    In one sense, I can understand why someone might argue the shooting was justifiable. Manyoun did initiate the attack. The officer let him walk away, or so it appears on video. We’ve seen far too many encounters with police result in death without provocation, and those aren’t this.

    In another sense, I’m trying to determine whether the average person on the street would be allowed to go home if he killed someone in response to Manyoun’s flagpole attack.

    And then there’s also the issue that the police should be held to a higher standard of accountability, restraint, and conflict avoidance than you and me. He saw the attack coming and he drew the gun immediately and cowered next to his car rather than pulling out other non-lethal weapons or simply retreating to inside his car to call for backup. I can understand why he was scared and why using force was necessary, but lethal force? I am still deciding.

    1. He saw the attack coming and he drew the gun immediately and cowered next to his car rather than pulling out other non-lethal weapons or simply retreating to inside his car to call for backup.

      So you’re saying we should repeal all the castle doctrine laws and bring back a legal duty to retreat?

      1. How does castle doctrine apply on a public sidewalk exactly?

        And we’re not talking about individuals; we’re talking about police policy toward individuals.

        1. Sorry, I meant Stand Your Ground.

        2. Then re-read my argument. I specifically said that I think the police should be held to a higher standard than the average person. Unlike average citizens, they’re granted a near* blank check on the legitimate use of force. They’re also supposed to be better trained to handle stressful and violent situations than us. So whenever possible, they should seek to avoid conflict and use restraint. I’m still mostly on the fence about whether lethal force was justified, and it’s debatable whether violent force was avoidable. But I think this general principle is sound and should apply.

          So why, then, would you argue that I want to repeal Stand Your Ground laws? All I’m talking about is checking police power.

  14. He returns into the frame wielding a flagpole (complete with red-and-blue striped “Open” sign) grabbed from the front of a nearby smoke shop. Manyoun can be seen running at the officer while swinging the pole. It breaks in half as the officer backs away and fires his gun twice at Manyoun, who later died in the hospital.

    This actually does seem like a legitimate shooting to me. Shooting someone who’s actively clubbing you with a weapon is pretty textbook self defense.

    1. Yes, I would hope that if I shot someone attacking me in that way I wouldn’t get charged.

      I do think that police have a bit more of a duty to show restraint and defuse situations where they can. This one, though, does seem like it might be justified. The cop probably could have avoided it by restraining him sooner. But that’s a tough call and probably not one where he should be punished if he made the wrong call.

      1. I do think that police have a bit more of a duty to show restraint and defuse situations where they can.

        You forget that people don’t sign on to be cops to show restraint and defuse situations. They sign on to use threats and intimidation to escalate situations in hopes of having the opportunity to kill someone. The whole point of the job is to legally commit assault and murder. It’s what they do.

    2. If I have a gun and you come at me swinging a flagpole, that would be a mistake on your part. The worst part of the article was the veiled threat to the citizens for exercising their rights.

  15. http://www.salon.com/2015/06/2…..a_partner/

    Research suggests psychopathy can actually be advantageous in certain professions. He are just a few examples

    7. Police officer.In an era where police abuse and brutality is a topic of national discourse like never before, much has already been written about the psychological profiles of police officers. It’s an enormous conversation, and anything I write here would likely be repetitive. But I was fascinated to learn about Diane Wetendorf’s Police Domestic Violence: Handbook for Victims, which finds that “women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40 percent of police officer families.” Compare that with the already troubling national average of 25 percent for American women in general. What’s more, “police families are two to four times more likely than the general population to experience domestic violence,” according to the Advocates for Human Rights.

    1. You mean people who are accustomed to using violence whenever they are not immediately obeyed are more likely to beat up their spouse?

      I’m shocked.

      1. Or people more likely to beat up their spouses might just be attracted to positions of power.

        chicken/egg

  16. This is one of the least controversial shootings we’ve seen in a while. The controversy is all about the FOP response afte rthe fact. Idiots.

  17. “De-escalation tactics are not used when it comes to people of color,” said Tara Pruitt at the meeting, covered by The Post-Courier.

    It’s almost as though these reform advocates have never heard of cops killing non-blacks in much less justifiable circumstances than this. Why do they keep trying to fight their battles on hills where the “victim” is almost indefensible? Let’s reform CCW laws because of Trayvon! Let’s reform use of force because of Michael Brown! I mean fuck. The cops unjustifiably kill thousands of people, probably more for all we are allowed to know and the by far most of those victims are white.

    They don’t give a shit about justice. They want social justice, group justice and collective guilt.

  18. Mutchler bellows at critique with such disdain and arrogance one has to wonder that if maybe he found the perfect career for his flexibility deficit- a police sergeant in law enforcement: Where you never need to change a single fuckin’ thing no matter how bad you fuck it up- cuz we is the law and the lawman is never wrong.

  19. “At a meeting the next day, members of activist group Stand Up Sundays questioned why Blanford didn’t try to stop Manyoun with a Taser, mace, or a baton first.”

    Even those should not be the first choice. The man had a pole, it’s very easy to neutralize the advantage of a weapon like that: move toward the person who has it. If you have any balls at all, that is.

    Don’t these fat clowns know how to handle themselves in a fig… hahahahahaha nope, couldn’t finish that thought.

  20. Let me get this straight. Activists are asking the city of Louisville, Kentucky, for reform in its “interactions with its citizens of color.” Wow Elizabeth, so the activists want people of “color” to get special treatment when they’re coming at a police officer with a large flag pole? What makes anyone entitled to be treated differently because of their skin color? How about the activists be put through some scenario training where people come at them with weapons, and they get to find out real quick that a less lethal option, against a weapon that can be lethal, is freaken RIDICULOUS!!! They are watching way too much fairy tales on TV. They have no idea about the reality of what a weapon like that can do. Do they expect the officer to have his arm broken or his head split open before he shoots? And why do the activists assume the officer’s actions were motivated by race and not the sheer fear of being knocked unconscious or killed by that flag pole? I don’t care if the man was yellow, white, polka-dotted….. any officer in his right mind would handle it the same way this officer did!

  21. De-escalation tactics are not used when you are charging me with a deadly weapon. Man stopping tactics are used. A minimum of two rounds, center of mass.

  22. Heartening to see so many with common sense

    There are arguable shootings and then there is this – obviously justified one

    I can’t believe some moron compared a flagpole to a garden hose

    Just… lol

    1. As shootings go, based on what we can see, this looks justifiable.

      Probably not optimal, given the wide array of non-lethal techniques that could have been brought to bear, effectively.

      But, I suspect that even a mere citizen in this situation would probably not wind up convicted of a crime. Unlike the cop, though, the mere citizen would almost certainly be arrested, maybe (probably?) even charged, and would have much more process-punishment imposed on them that this cop ever will.

  23. “Activists are asking the city of Louisville, Kentucky, for reform in its “interactions with its citizens of color.””

    So Elizabeth (author), are you saying that people of “color” should get special treatment by police officers? Are they “entitled” to special treatment? Is that not racist?

    And the way you expect police to enforce the law is utterly absurd. Please spare us the ignorance.

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