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Louisville’s police chief has been suspended due to concerns about her management of a sexual harassment claim involving officers

Louisville Metro Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel speaks during a news conference (Via Jim Moore/Getty Images)

Louisville’s police chief, Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, has been placed on leave due to concerns about how she managed a sexual harassment complaint involving her officers, announced Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg on Wednesday.

This decision comes less than a year after Gwinn-Villaroel became the first Black woman to lead the department in a full-time role. Mayor Greenberg clarified that the chief wasn’t directly involved in the harassment incident itself but raised issues about how she handled the complaint after it was reported.

The Louisville Police Department has seen frequent changes in leadership since the death of Breonna Taylor in 2020. Gwinn-Villaroel is the third permanent chief since then, with three interim chiefs also serving, including a previous stint by Gwinn-Villaroel herself.

Law enforcement vehicle outside a house (Via WLS-TV/ABC 7 Chicago)

She joined the Louisville department from the Atlanta Police Department in 2021, initially serving as deputy chief under former Chief Erika Shields. Gwinn-Villaroel was appointed as the full-time chief in July 2023.

During her tenure as interim chief, Mayor Greenberg had praised her leadership during a mass shooting at a downtown bank in 2023, where police quickly responded and neutralized the gunman. However, Greenberg expressed serious concerns on Wednesday regarding her handling of the sexual harassment allegation, especially in light of previous criticisms of the department by the U.S. Justice Department on similar issues.

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