Sept. 7 (UPI) — A new interim police chief was named Monday in Louisville, Ky., a city that has seen months of unrest following the police-killing in March of Breonna Taylor.
Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, will be the third person serving in the role of police chief since the death of Taylor.
“I want to make sure this city is restored and rebuilt in a way that is equitable,” Gentry said, saying that protests for more than 100 days, including Saturday’s protests during the Kentucky Derby, had been hard on officers.
Gentry said Sunday she was not vying for the chief’s role, but wanted to serve as a transition so a search for a new chief would not be “rushed.”
Unrest erupted in Louisville after Taylor was killed by police while sleeping in her home. No officers have been charged, although one was fired from the department.
The former police chief, Steve Conrad, was fired in June, along with two officers, after another police fatal shooting of Louisville barbecue stall owner David McAtee in which no body camera footage was available.
At that point, Mayor Greg Fischer appointed Assistant Chief of Police Robert Schroeder as interim chief. Schroeder will retire and be replaced by Gentry.
“I think our city is at a point of reckoning that only truth can bring us out of. Only truth can take away the darkness,” Gentry said. “We gotta ask ourself if Breonna Taylor’s name came across an application in this city, would she get an interview?”
Gentry, who is Black, said her son had the police called and was accused of being a drug dealer when he moved into a new apartment.
“I served 20-something years willing to die for a city that wouldn’t even make my son feel welcome,” Gentry said.
Louisville mayor Fischer praised Gentry for her trailblazing and leadership in the community.
“Yvette brings the unparalleled experience and strong community relationships needed to lead LMPD until a permanent Chief is in place,” the mayor said in a statement. “[Gentry] is passionate about working to help her city address systemic racism and reimagine public safety. She has never been shy about offering her advice, and I look forward to having her on the team as we move forward in selecting a permanent chief.”
Taylor was killed by police serving a “no-knock” search warrant at her Louisville apartment on March 13. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who said police didn’t announce themselves, at first fired a gun at officers when they entered.
Last week, Walker sued the Louisville Metro Police and the city naming Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, along with other officers. Mattingly, who was struck in the leg by a bullet during the altercation, was fired from the police force.
The FBI and the attorney general of Kentucky are assisting in the investigation of Taylor’s death.