Louisville Courier Journal
March 17, 2003

Some months ago, Louisville police detective Michael O'Neil shot to death a man named James Edward Taylor. The police justified the incident by asserting that Taylor had wielded a box cutter in a menacing manner even though his hands were cuffed behind his back. After a federal investigation of the case, the Justice Department decided against bringing any criminal charges against O'Neil. Using TRACFED data, James R. Carroll, a reporter in the Courier Journal's Washington Bureau, discovered that this "declination" was hardly unusual. From FY 1996 and 2001, 294 matters concerning civil rights abuses by police officers had been referred to federal prosecutors in Kentucky. During the same period, only one officer was prosecuted and convicted. All the rest were declined.



Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2003
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