After months of negotiating, Louisville officials and police union leadership agreed to a short-term police contract earlier this month. But some council members want them to go back to the drawing board.
The short-term contract, which would go through next June, includes just one of the reforms agreed to between the city and the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman shot and killed by police at her home in March. A slew of reforms were included in the settlement announced last month.
On Tuesday, the council’s labor and economic development committee began discussions on the agreement reached earlier this month. They tabled a resolution that would ratify the proposed contract in order to allow more discussion before sending the legislation to the full council.
Council member Keisha Dorsey (D-3), a member of the committee, said conversation about the contract should involve the public as well. She proposed holding an open hearing to get community feedback. She also called for an easy-to-understand guide to the 58-page contract to help educate the public.
She said although she wants to pay officers more, she does not feel the contract is as good as it can be.
“Are we just passing legislation for the sake of passing it, or are we passing legislation because it’s good legislation?” Dorsey asked during the committee meeting.
She said she was concerned the city and police would not be able to agree to a new contract by the time the proposed one expires next June 30. The previous contract was entered into in 2013 and expired in 2018. It’s been repeatedly renewed since then.
Dorsey said, as a Black woman and Black legislator, she doesn’t want to wait until the next opportunity to address what community members are asking for now. The city should be willing to start over, if needed, she said.
Council member Brandon Coan (D-8), who is not a member of the committee, was equally blunt.
“I will be a ‘no’ vote if this contract as-is ever reaches the whole council. I hope it does not, and I urge this committee not to let it,” he said. “So please send the negotiators back to the drawing board.”
City representatives including Daniel Frockt, the chief financial officer for Louisville Metro Government, attended and spoke at the meeting. So did interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Yvette Gentry and River City Fraternal Order of Police President Ryan Nichols.
Officials have said some of the reforms promised to Taylor’s family could require changes to state law. But Gentry said she needs to review what policies officers violated — a matter that is currently under internal investigation.
“Once I look at the policies that were potentially broken, then we’ll have a better understanding of how we prevent this from happening, because I think that’s what people are crying out for,” she said.
Gentry said she does not expect that investigation to take very long. She did not provide a timeline, other than to say its duration will be “certainly not months.” The investigation could result in professional repercussions for the officers who participated in the raid that left Taylor dead.