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Local News

Shots Fired Near Shawnee High School, SWAT Called; UPDATE: Standoff Ends

Update, 7:00: Police say a 22-year-old is in custody and the SWAT standoff has ended. 

A Louisville SWAT team is still assessing the situation at the corner of 41st and Herman streets, where a suspect is barricaded in a house.

The standoff began shortly before 1:00 pm, when Louisville Metro police reported that two individuals were shooting at each other near Shawnee High School. Officers pursued suspects on foot. One 15-year-old was brought into custody, though officers aren’t saying whether he faces any charges. Another suspect is believed to be barricaded in a home near 41st and Herman streets.

JCPS officials say Shawnee High School has been on heightened security all day following shootings yesterday. Students were dismissed at 2:20, with the following precautions:

  • Any Shawnee students that would walk into the affected area to get home will be allowed to remain at the school until they can be picked up or an all-clear is given.
  • Because the situation is so close, there are no Shawnee bus riders affected
  • Bus riders from other schools whose stops are in areas blocked off by police will be taken to Western Middle School until parents pick them up or the all-clear is given.
  • Elementary school walkers who cannot be delivered to the affected area will remain at their respective schools until they can be picked up or there is an all-clear.

LMPD officials are not saying whether they believe the incident is related to two shootings yesterday.

Categories
Local News Politics

Fischer Names Candidates for Police Chief

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has released the names of five candidates for chief of police.

Former Chief Robert White has left to be chief of the Denver Police Department. When White first announced he was leaving, Mayor Greg Fischer said he would prefer the next chief have local experience. All of the five finalists now being considered have ties to Louisville or Kentucky. Click on their names to see their resumes.

First is Steve Conrad, who is the chief of the Glendale, Arizona Police Department and a former assistant chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders and Owensboro Chief Glen Skeens are also finalists. And two current LMPD deputy chiefs—Vincent Robison and Yvette Gentry—made the list as well.

Fischer plans to announce the new chief in April. The LMPD is currently led by interim Chief Ishmon Burks.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Scott Criticizes Police Chief Search Process

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Woodson Scott, D-1, lambasted the search process for the city’s next police chief on Monday for being flawed and ignoring community input.

Sixteen candidates are vying to fill the position with most having a connection to Louisville. The Southern Police Institute will review the applications via a committee over the next several weeks and select five finalists, but no public meetings with the candidates will be called during either process despite council members being asked to reach out to residents for input.

A spokeswoman for the panel told the Courier-Journal SPI will meet with select ministerial groups, Fraternal Order of Police members and civil rights groups, but not constituents and that doesn’t please the council’s newest member.

“Yes, the police chief search process is flawed,” Scott said via her Twitter account. “We wasted time and we would be naïve to think that real community input will be respected.”

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Here and Now

Age Restrictions Could Be Lifted on Plan B, Walmart Strives for Sustainability in China, Chief White Reflects on His Time With LMPD: Today on Here and Now

1:06pm: Should the morning-after pill be available on drug store shelves, next to condoms and other over the counter birth control? Right now “Plan B” emergency contraception is not. To get it, women have to prove they’re at least 17 years old or have a doctor’s prescription. But today the Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide whether to lift that age restriction. We’ll find out more from Washington Post Science Reporter Rob Stein.

1:12pm: “A year from now, each and every one of you will be more socially and environmentally responsible.” That’s what Walmart’s CEO told a room full of Chinese vendors in 2008. Now the company who’s often vilified in the USA seems to be pushing China toward sustainability. China expert Orville Schell writes in the Atlantic that Walmart and China are conducting a “bold experiment in consumer behavior and environmental stewardship that will be critical to the fate of the planet’s environment.”

1:35pm: Last night, the city held a farewell reception for outgoing police chief Robert White. Chief White says he’s “packing a lot of boxes” this week for his impending move to Colorado, where he’ll be Denver’s chief of police. He took a break to spend some time talking with WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey about his community outreach, racially charged police shootings, and the mistakes he regrets making with rank-and-file officers.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

UPDATE: Bomb Squad Called to Mayor’s Office

The Louisville Metro Police bomb squad has been called to investigate a suspicious package outside the mayor’s office.

The package was found Friday morning and is located behind Metro Hall. Investigators have shut down all vehicle and foot traffic around the building and are keeping all personnel inside.

Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says suspicious items are reported in downtown Louisville from “time to time”, but investigators are taking the situation seriously.

“We are always going to approach things with cautiousness and want to err on the side of caution. We simply don’t know until we evaluate it,” he says.

A spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer says he is attending a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting at Harvard University.

UPDATE:

After being on lock down for an hour and a half, Metro Hall has been declared all-clear by police and streets have been reopened. The bomb squad robot emptied the suspicious package’s contents and found computer parts inside.

“Everything is fine now and operations are back to normal,” says Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter. “There’s always some concern when you hear they’re calling out bomb squad, but our police are great and were quickly out on the job.”

If the mayor were inside his office during the investigation of the package, Poynter says he would have been evacuated by his security detail to a safer location if needed.

Categories
Local News Noise & Notes Politics

James Launches First Annual ‘Light Up California’ Event

Seeking to bring a west Louisville neighborhood together, Councilman David James, D-6, is launching the first ever “Light Up California” event.

Similar to Light Up Louisville, the event will include live musical performances by the choir of First Gethsemane Baptist Church and the River City Drum Corps. The festivities will also include James welcoming a man playing Santa Claus and other city officials to the event.

James says the event is about encouraging unity amongst the resident and promoting public safety in the neighborhood.

“Light Up California will be a great opportunity for residents of the California neighborhood to come together for a fun evening in the heart of their community. I look forward to starting this new tradition with our friends in California,” James said in a news release.

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Local News

Louisville Police Chief’s Son Faces Felony and Misdemeanor Charges

The son of Louisville Police Chief Robert White is facing two felony charges and one misdemeanor charge stemming from an altercation with his wife.

Thirty-year-old Robert C. White was driving with his wife on Monday evening. According to police reports, he struck her in the head and face, then held her against her will. She eventually jumped from the moving vehicle and was taken to Jewish Hospital to receive treatment for what police call significant injuries. White went to another location, where he was arrested. White faces charges of second degree assault, first degree unlawful imprisonment and third degree terroristic threatening.

“[Chief White] does stand behind our officers’ actions and believes appropriate charges were placed due to the circumstances the officers were confronted with at the scene last night,” says Sgt. Robert Biven.

The chief is out of town, and Sgt. Biven says he’s not sure whether he heard about the arrest from his son or from the police.

“Around 6:00, domestic violence detectives were in route to both locations. I’m sure that information evolved very quickly,” he says.

Robert C. White is being held on a $50,000 bond. The prosecutor’s office says it’s still too early to determine any potential conflicts of interest with the case.

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Local News Uncategorized

Jury Rules in Favor of City in SWAT Case

Four years ago, Sharon Ramage was ironing clothes when she heard an explosion outside of her house. Shortly after, the then 57-year-old grandmother was tackled by men who had stormed into her home.

The Louisville Metro Police department’s SWAT team detonated a flashbang and broke in through the front and back door. The paramilitary unit was serving a search warrant for her son, who they thought lived on the premises. He actually lived at a different location.

Ramage is now in federal court seeking compensation from the department for property damage and pain and suffering.

“I haven’t worked since,” she testified while under oath.  “I haven’t been able to sleep. It’s not much of a life to live, not much of a way to spend time with the grandkids.”

Using a walker, Ramage told the jury SWAT team members slammed her near the fireplace, injuring her back and knee and breaking her toes. During the trial, her attorneys pointed out that 35 officers armed with rifles, bulletproof shields and an armored vehicle infiltrated the house, which were 11 more than it took to kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

Detectives requested SWAT assistance in serving the warrant because her son, Michael, had a violent criminal history and an arrest warrant. Police also cite the house was fortified due partially to a 4 foot iron fence that encompassed the property.

But Ramage’s son didn’t have an arrest warrant, and the fence is made of wood and only goes around part of her property.

The jury listened to three days of testimony from the Ramage family, the detective who ordered the raid and a SWAT expert.

After deliberating for only an hour, the jury ruled in favor of the city, despite the fact that the city had not called anyone to testify.

Attorney Garry Adams, who represents Ramage, argued mistakes were made by officers due to policies put forth by Metro Government.

However, the judge threw out parts of the case concerning why SWAT was at the Ramage home, narrowing the case to how they entered, and whether or not it violated her Fourth Amendment rights.

Adams says he wasn’t surprised by the verdict.

“Nobody was really shocked because we all understood that it was a high hurdle to get over on this very limited issue,” he says.

Ramage, who has never been arrested in her life, was shaken by the trial.  She is hurt by the way the county attorney mocked and acted out her injuries, insinuating Ramage was faking.

After the verdict, she kept repeating that she was shocked by how much power the government has.

Her legal team will have to decide within 30 days if they will appeal.

Categories
Local News

Police Urge Caution, Planning For Derby and Oaks

The Louisville Metro Police are gearing up for Oaks and Derby Day traffic.   Officials say not much has changed in terms of getting into and out of the Churchill Downs area; motorists not attending the races are being advised to avoid the area, especially right after the Oaks and Derby.

Deputy Police Chief Yvette Gentry says a ban against cruising along West Broadway remains in effect, although police relaxed their crackdown a bit last year.

“It’s not totally a non-issue, we’ve had bad weather which has not given us a true picture of what we are dealing with and how we have eradicated the cruising problem,” Gentry Says “hopefully this year, if we have good weather we are able to see what we really can do as far as scaling that back in the future.”

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Local News

Gordon To Represent Frayser Student

Attorney Ted Gordon is considering legal action in the case of the assault against a 2nd grader at Frayser Elementary.

The victim, who is being called M.H., was found hanging by his shirt from a hook in the bathroom of the school on March 23.  His brother says two 5th grade students told him they were responsible for the assault and that he was next.

Gordon says he believes the boys were targeted because they had complained about bullying.

“Clearly this was a calculated and premeditated and if they understood the actions and the result of their actions…and this be the case, we’re still investigating,”he says “then juvenile court authorities should investigate and see whether or not they should be prosecuted.”

School officials insist there was a teacher at the door of the bathroom when M.H. was assaulted. Gordon believes this may not have been the case and that the school may bear some responsibility for the attack.

“Our information is that there is a question whether or not the teacher was at the door the entire time,” Gordon says, “both MH and his brother totally state that these two fifth graders are the ones that assaulted and attempted to kill MH.”

Gordon says believes the boy was targeted because of complaints from him or his parents about bullying.  The boy’s brother says he has received threats from the two fifth graders and that they claimed responsibility for the assault.

Jefferson County Public Schools has said they were unaware of any complaints of bullying and that it is now a police investigation and they are awaiting the results.

Jefferson County Public Schools has said it is now a police investigation and they are awaiting the results.

Gordon also plans to request that the children be transferred to another school.