Two ex-Louisville Metro Police Department officers pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to allegations they threw large drinks at people through the window of their unmarked cruiser.
According to prosecutors with the United States Department of Justice, Bryan Wilson and Curt Flynn recorded themselves hitting residents with drinks in order to show the video to other officers. At the time, Wilson and Flynn were working as detectives with the LMPD Ninth Mobile Division, a unit that patrolled neighborhoods with high levels of violent crime before it was disbanded in 2019.
They were charged with conspiring to violate the civil rights of Louisville pedestrians and now each face up to 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors said in a press release that Wilson and Flynn treated the drink-throwing like a game. After buying the beverages, they would identify a target and pull their car up close to the sidewalk or the side of the road.
“Wilson or Flynn would announce on the police radio words to the effect of, “someone was thirsty” or “thirsty fam,” and then [they] would throw the beverage, including the container and/or its contents, at the targeted civilian,” prosecutors said.
In at least one incident, a person was knocked to the ground from the force of being hit with a drink.
The public first learned about allegations that officers were throwing drinks at west Louisville residents when former District 1 Metro Council Member Jessica Green questioned police Chief Erika Shields about it during a June 2021 meeting. Green called the actions “sickening” and “disgusting.”
Shields acknowledged at that meeting that the FBI was investigating and predicted it would be “another black eye” for an already troubled police department. The Department of Justice has been separately conducting an overarching investigation into LMPD to determine whether officers have engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing.
On Tuesday, Shields said in a statement LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit would conduct an investigation to figure out whether any other officers were involved.
“I want to make it clear to everyone, the actions of former Detectives Flynn and Wilson are reprehensible, sickening, and do not reflect the core values of LMPD,” Shields said in the statement. “Their behavior was demoralizing and dehumanizing to the victims. On behalf of this agency, I wish to express my sincere apologies to those affected.”
Shields added that Flynn resigned from LMPD on Tuesday, effective immediately. Wilson resigned in July 2020, according to LMPD.
Also on Tuesday, Wilson pleaded guilty to a separate charge of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and faces an additional five years in prison.
According to prosecutors, Wilson hacked the computer applications of at least six women in September and October 2020 to steal nude photographs and videos. He then contacted the women via text message and threatened to publish the photos and videos unless they sent him more nude material.
Wilson and Flynn are both scheduled to be sentenced by a judge in September.