Louisville Police Chief Quits Amid Harassment Mishandling Accusations

Mayor Craig Greenberg announced that the police chief of Louisville, Kentucky, had resigned. The chief had been suspended in early June for failing to handle a sexual harassment allegation involving an officer appropriately.

Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel’s resignation (or dismissal) made her the third full-time chief of police in Louisville to do so since 2020. Since that year, when cops shot and killed Breonna Taylor during an unsuccessful narcotics search, the police department’s leadership has come and gone.

After Gwinn-Villaroel’s suspension on June 12, Greenberg appointed Paul Humphrey to the position of temporary Chief. Humphrey is the fourth chief to hold this position since 2020. With Gwinn-Villaroel’s departure, Humphrey will assume complete authority as police chief, according to Greenberg.

Allegations of sexual harassment have caused havoc in the department in the last several weeks. The sexual harassment and assault of two female police officers by their fellow officers occurred in the previous several years, according to lawsuits filed last week.

The actions claimed in the cases were despicable and reprehensible, according to Greenberg, who made the statement on June 23rd.  People should be regarded with dignity by their coworkers. Additionally, every individual must handle others with dignity and respect. That ought to be the case in all workplaces.

The improper handling of a sexual misconduct charge lodged by Maj. Shannon Lauder, regarding a fellow police major, led to Gwinn-Villaroel’s suspension. Gwinn-Villaroel elevated the major to lieutenant colonel at a May command staff meeting, during which Lauder raised her objections. 

Greenberg announced changes to the department’s policy on the reporting of sexual harassment, including the improvement of training processes and the creation of alternative channels for officers to report such incidents. He warned that officers may face termination if they were discovered to have violated the policy against sexual harassment.

According to Greenberg, the hunt for a new permanent police chief is now on hold.

Along with previous Louisville Chief Erika Shields, Gwinn-Villaroel was recruited as a deputy chief when she arrived from the Atlanta Police Department in 2021. She was officially appointed in July 2023.

Greenberg failed to clarify if he had requested Gwinn-Villaroel depart her position or the reasons for her resignation.