A member of the Louisville Metro Police Department has filed a lawsuit accusing the department of engaging in discriminatory and racist practices. Filed by attorney Sam Aguiar, the lawsuit claims that officer Philip Satterthwaite witnessed friends and family members of those in positions of power get promoted before more qualified candidates. Having worked in the department since 2012, Satterthwaite claims that he witnessed these practices go on for nearly a decade.
"The nepotism within LMPD is longstanding, and it is a substantial contributing factor to depleting morale amongst those officers who know that they, regardless of their accomplishments and history of being great police officers, face a stacked deck each time they seek a promotion where others within department connections are also in the candidate pool," the lawsuit claims.
Last year, Satterthwaite claims that he was denied a position with the LMPD's Crimes Against Children Unit and Robbery Unit in 2020 because he was treated unfairly during the hiring process. After he was denied the position, he said that he was stopped from viewing the interview files.
"Race plays a direct and indirect role in advancement opportunities at LMPD," the lawsuit reads.
"Until the middle of the 2000's… Black officers simply did not make the rank of Sergeant."
This is far from the first time that the Louisville Metro Police Department has been accused of engaging in racist practices. Attorney Sam Aguiar also represents the family of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was killed last March during a raid on her home despite the person of interest being nowhere near the scene. This fatal raid has led to nationwide protests, intense scrutiny and the dismissal of multiple officers. Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three officers directly involved in the raid. However, no officer has faced criminal charges for killing Taylor that evening. Former officer Brett Hankinson faces a third-degree wanton endangerment charge for firing shots into a nearby apartment. Ultimately, the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with the Taylor family.
Photo Credit: Getty Images