Louisville police releases body camera footage of ‘unintentional’ shooting of 2 teenagers

Louisville Metro Police released body camera footage Friday that offers a closer look at a shooting last week the department described as “unintentional” in which an officer shot two teenage boys.

The boys were not killed but were injured, LMPD Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey said at a press conference on Feb. 21, about an hour later the department acknowledged the Feb. 20 shootings. The officer who fired his weapon, identified Friday as Brendan Kaiser, has been placed on administrative leave amid an investigation.

The footage, released Friday at 2:36 pm, shows Kaiser waiting outside the garage for additional officers to arrive and working to keep the people inside the garage from leaving. Kaiser has his gun drawn throughout the duration of the video, which was edited at one point to make it clear that he did not have his finger on the trigger while he was staking out the garage.

The shot was fired as he rushed at the group of teenagers as they were trying to run from the garage after the door was opened. His gun was not in the video when the gunshot happened. The video shows Kaiser and another officer (whose camera did not show Kaiser shoot) detain one of the teens and then shows Kaiser requesting a commanding officer to come to the scene.

The other officer was behind the garage when the shot was fired. His footage shows him going to the front of the building and detaining the teen in the aftermath of the shooting.

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It took 11 days for LMPD to release the body camera footage, a break from previous department policy where footage of shootings involving officers was released within 24 hours of the incident. In a Tuesday update eight days after the shooting, LMPD said the video had not been released because officers were still conducting interviews.

“LMPD has been transparent from the beginning of the investigation,” the statement, provided by LMPD Public Affairs Manager Angela Ingram on behalf of the department, said. “After piecing together the evidence, the police department self-reported that an officer was involved in a shooting, despite the individuals who were shot repeatedly denying they were at the location where the shooting occurred.”

The shooting took place on Feb. 20. In a statement the following day, LMPD said officers were responding to a trespassing call at a detached garage on a vacant property in Chickasaw, in the 800 block of S. 38th Street. Four teenage boys fled when the garage door was opened – officers had their weapons drawn due to “multiple unknown threats,” the release said, and an officer fired one bullet as he attempted to detain a suspect.

The detained teen was not injured and no officers were hurt. No evidence was initially found that would have alerted officers of any injuries, the release said, but an hour later, two teens checked into Louisville hospitals with nonlethal gunshot wounds. Police said the teens gave “conflicting statements” regarding their injuries and denied being involved but were later linked to the scene after a review of body camera footage.

The officer’s record

The personnel file for Kaiser, who joined LMPD in 2016, shows then-Chief Steve Conrad exonerated him of any use of force violations after he fatally shot a man in April 2018 in the Shawnee neighborhood.

Kaiser shot and killed them 42-year-old man, Isaac Jacksonafter LMPD said Jackson threw a knife at another officer while inside a home on 42nd Street.

Kaiser was also suspended four days after an internal investigation found he violated policies on “de-escalation” and “courtesy” during an April 2020 incident, according to the personnel file. Specifically, Kaiser “failed to use appropriate language to attempt to calm” several people down and “failed to exercise patience and diplomacy,” according to the file, which also includes several commendation letters for his actions over the years.

Kaiser was reprimanded as well for a December 2018 incident in which he “failed to be courteous, civil and used profanity towards a juvenile,” failed to turn on his body camera and used “inappropriate force on a juvenile,” according to his personnel file , which also shows he was reprimanded in different incidents for being “at fault” in several car crashes and missing a court date.

Sam Aguiar, a Louisville attorney representing the teens at the center of the case, said the shooting is unacceptable and called on LMPD to fire Kaiser. The officer seriously injured the kids through his “recklessness,” Aguiar added, and he took issue with the department releasing a video “putting emphasis on what the officer did consistent with his training.”

“This officer has a history of red flag behavior,” Aguiar’s email added. “The department needs to explain immediately why his prior incidents did not prompt corrective action and training.”

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Next steps

At the Feb. 21 press conference, Humphrey did not say whether the teens have been or will be charged but said that information is “all going to come out as part of the investigation.” He did not say where the teens had been shot but said they were in “good condition.” A stolen car was found at the scene of the shooting, he said.

LMPD is conducting the investigation into the shooting, the department previously said, before handing the case off to Kentucky State Police officials, who will subsequently hand the case off to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for review. KSP officials normally investigate shootings that involve LMPD officers, but KSP Sgt. Matt Sudduth told The Courier Journal the two sides agreed to the unique arrangement in this case.

“KSP works with local law enforcement departments to provide assistance when requested,” Sudduth said this earlier week. “The decision is made after a discussion between the two agencies and based on many factors including the details surrounding the incident, the number of open cases currently being investigated by CIRT or the local post, personnel availability, and services being requested.”

This story may be updated.

Reporter Lucas Aulbach contributed.

This article originally appeared on the Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville police release body cam footage of shooting that hurt teens

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