It's another day, another narcotics raid in Louisville, Kentucky. Demetrius Allison was sitting quietly at home with his three young kids when the police suddenly appeared, accusing him of dealing drugs. They assaulted him for "resisting arrest" and took almost 10,000 dollars of his cash.
Home to many violent crimes, Louisville's residents also have the dubious distinction of being "protected" by the LMPD or Louisville Metro Police Department, one of America's most controversial police departments.
The LMPD, particularly its narcotics unit, has recently been the subject of a Vice News investigation report that took two years to produce and film. Vice has uncovered the rampant corruption within the LMPD, including cases of police officers stealing money and drugs from crime scenes.
Their modus operandi includes raiding houses or cars with or without a search warrant and accusing individuals of illegally pushing drugs or possessing drugs. If narcotics are on the scene, it's immediately confiscated, and any cash they find automatically labelled as drug money.
However, when they get to the station to prepare evidence reports, these cops do not declare the total amount of any cash seized. They declare less than what was taken (for both the drugs and money). No one looks into it or double checks, so the rest of the cash usually goes missing, presumably taken by corrupt cops.
The money taken from these victims, branded drug money, is also anything but. Mike Jackson, a barber, had 24,000 dollars, his life savings when he was arrested for dealing drugs in a gas station despite having zero evidence and witnesses for his defense. The arresting officer, detective Brett Hankerson only reported recovering 14,000 dollars. All charges against Jackson were eventually dropped, but he never got the $10,000 back.
One of the more insidious aspects of these police-perpetrated crimes is that the victims, like Demetrius Allison, who suffered a broken occipital lobe for his trouble and Mike Jackson, fit a specific look and profile: they are mainly African American. They are also recovering drug addicts, making it harder for anyone to take them seriously when filing legal complaints.
One of these alleged victims was Breonna Taylor, who was shot by police officers raiding her home and claiming she was resisting arrest. This case caught the public eye and was highlighted during the #BlackLivesMatter movement and protests of 2021, bringing more attention to police discrimination, violence and corruption.
Vice reporter Rob Ferdman also spoke to an anonymous informant who disclosed that corruption is really at the heart of the culture of Louisville's police department, with officers seizing -and splitting amongst themselves - amounts as high as $500,000. This is why even those higher-up in the organization do not put a stop to these activities.
No officers have been charged for the death of Breonna Taylor, and there are many more victims like Demetrius Allison and Mike Jackson who will continue to suffer injustices at the hands of those meant to protect the population. It is a systemic problem, sadly tolerated by those at the top.