NewsThe First Black Woman Police Chief In Louisville Suspended

The First Black Woman Police Chief In Louisville Suspended

Gwinn-Villaroel was accused of promoting one of her majors just minutes after a sexual harassment allegation was made against him.

Louisville’s police chief, Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, has been suspended amid allegations that she mishandled sexual harassment claims involving her officers. 

Mayor Craig Greenberg made the surprise announcement on June 12 after Gwinn-Villaroel had only held the position for less than a year. While Greenberg said in a statement that the chief wasn’t involved in the allegations herself, he said such issues would not be tolerated. “I will not tolerate sexual misconduct in Louisville Metro Government, including in LMPD,” Greenberg said during a press conference. 

“Rules and policies are in place for a reason, and they need to be followed.”

The allegations came to light after Gwinn-Villaroel was accused of promoting one of her majors to the top three in command just minutes after a sexual harassment allegation was made against him. According to Wave 3, she decided to promote Major Brian Kuriger during the same meeting where his colleague, Major Shannon Lauder, made an accusation.

The publication retrieved a recording of the meeting where the chief was allegedly heard asking Lauder if there was anyone specifically that she could not work with. “I’m going to put it on record today,” Gwinn-Villaroel said. “I’m going to ask, is there anybody within this command staff or executive staff you can’t work with?”

Lauder responded by saying, “I cannot work with Major Kuriger. He has sexually harassed me and attacked me, and I cannot work with him.” 

After 21 seconds of silence, the chief continues to roll call other majors before announcing Kuriger’s promotion. “Your next Lt. Col. will be Brian Kuriger,” Villaroel says. She continues to tell Lauder that her concerns were heard, followed by the major allegedly telling the chief, “I know that right now is not a good time to bring it up…” but she didn’t want you to say that…later, that I didn’t bring it up.” 

“So, sorry it had to come out in this way.”

After Taylor’s death, the agency conducted a wide-ranging investigation and found Louisville officers often engaged in patterns of discrimination and violation of constitutional rights. Its report revealed it “identified deficiencies” in the department’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct or domestic violence among officers.

Lauder’s attorney, Jared Smith, released a statement saying, “What we hear LMPD Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel say in this recording is deeply concerning as her tone toward her command staff is, in my opinion, aggressive and threatening,” he said. 

“The chief’s response to Major Lauder’s allegation paints an unsettling picture of a department lacking strong leadership and failing to prioritize the well-being of its officers.”

Greenberg named Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey as acting chief during the investigation, while an LMPD spokesperson clarified that Kuriger’s promotion was not official.

RELATED CONTENT: Breonna Taylor’s Boyfriend Kenneth Walker To Receive $2M Lawsuit Settlement

Source: Black Enterprise

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