A Louisville Metro Police SWAT team officer who shot and killed a suspect Thursday was not wearing a body camera, according to the chief of police.
In a Friday afternoon press conference, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad provided Louisville media with scant details about the shooting, which happened around noon Thursday in an apartment complex on Colonial Oaks Court in the Southside neighborhood.
The police chief did identify the officer as SWAT Sergeant Brandon Hogan and the suspect he shot and killed, 62-year-old Raad Fakhri Salman.
“The absence of video underscores the importance of the need to continue a thorough and complete investigation because it is only through a thorough and complete investigation that we can ensure that our policy was followed, the use of force was justified and that our procedures and training were followed,” Conrad said. We owe that to the suspect, to the suspect’s family, to the involved officer and to the entire community.”
LMPD’s Lt. Aaron Crowell of the Public Integrity Unit is in charge of investigating the incident. Crowell told media that Metrosafe dispatchers relayed 911 information to police about an ongoing incident at 28 Colonial Oaks Court in which “a man was assaulting a woman and holding a knife to her throat,” he said.
The LMPD SWAT team was conducting a training exercise nearby, Cromwell said, when they responded to dispatchers’ updates. Hogan was the first officer to arrive on the scene and found Salman threatening the woman, later identified as Salman’s wife, with a large kitchen knife, he added.
Hogan ordered Salman multiple times to drop the knife, Crowell said, but Salman ignored him, continuing “to make cutting, stabbing type movements toward the female victim who was being held on the ground at the suspect’s feet.”
Crowell said that Hogan then fired his patrol rifle, an AR-15, “disabling Salman and allowing the woman to flee to safety.”
Salman was treated by both LMPD and Louisville Medical Emergency Services personnel for an unspecified number of gunshot wounds on the scene, Crowell said, and transported to the University of Louisville Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Crowell said that Salman was unknown to LMPD. Salman’s wife was uninjured.
LMPD released clips of two 911 calls — one made by the suspect, Salman, and a second one made by an unnamed female witness. The first call required an Arabic translator to communicate with Salman, who spoke Arabic, Cromwell said.
In the second 911 call, the witness said: “I have a man holding a woman at knifepoint.” In that call, she could be heard screaming “Hey! Don’t touch her!”
Without body camera footage, it will be harder to determine the exact order of events, and Crowell said that LMPD is in the process of translating the entirety of the first phone call into English.
“The patrol officers in our department were given priority in getting those cameras,” Conrad said, noting that the force’s body cameras — known specifically as “flex cams” and manufactured by the same company that produces LMPD’s Tasers — were distributed en masse beginning in June 2015.
“It took almost a year to complete that process,” Conrad said.
Conrad explained that deploying the body cameras for “specialty units” like the LMPD’s SWAT team “has presented some challenges, and it’s required more planning, and operational and technological changes,” adding that the SWAT team is the next unit within LMPD scheduled to receive body cameras, “but they have not yet been made operational.”
Conrad said Fourth Division officers with body cameras also responded to the scene, but they did not capture the fatal shooting of Salman.
Personnel files released by LMPD show several commendations for Hogan since joining the force in 2008, as well as an internal investigation over an alleged use of excessive force against a suspect in 2010. In a complaint filed with the LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit in June 2010, an individual named Darren Williams accused Hogan of excessive force.
Williams’ complaint alleges that Hogan “knocked him to the ground, jumped on him, handcuffed him and then deployed his [stun gun] several times to his back.”
“Complainant states when asked why he [was] being arrested and told the officer he knew his rights,” that Hogan allegedly responded by saying “You have the right to shut the fuck up” and refused Williams’ request for medical attention.
The PSU investigation sustained the complaint’s assertion that Hogan violated SOP 5.1.11 “courtesy” but did not sustain a charge of use of physical force. Further, the July 2011 PSU reports states, Hogan was exonerated for use of his Taser.
Neither Conrad, Crowell nor an LMPD spokesman present at the press conference answered questions by media about specific requirements for officers to wear body cameras and ended the press conference after 20 minutes.
LMPD has not yet responded to follow-up questions about Sgt. Hogan’s status, or whether Salman was under the influence of drugs or suffered from a mental illness.