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Former Louisville police officer admits to using excessive force in 2020 protest

J. Tyler Franklin

A former Louisville Metro Police officer pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to using excessive force during the 2020 protests against racial injustice.

Richard Ross Wiedo, 37, admitted to violating a person’s civil rights when he fired a “less-than-lethal“ foam round indiscriminately into a crowd onMay 30, 2020, striking someone in the face.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Wiedo said he shot the round into the crowd “after a water bottle was thrown from the back of the crowd.”

“Wiedo admitted he had not identified who had thrown the bottle and was not deploying his 40mm direct impact munition at anyone who was being actively aggressive,” the release reads.

He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of using unreasonable force, which carries a maximum fine of $100,000.

As part of his plea agreement, if accepted by the court, Wiedo will forfeit his Kentucky law enforcement certification and agree not to seek any future employment in law enforcement.

Wiedo resigned from LMPD on June 24, 2022, according to a department spokesperson.

He is among several LMPD officers being federally prosecuted for alleged civil rights violations.

In August 2022,the DOJ charged four current and former LMPD officers with offenses, including excessive force and conspiracy, for their role in Breonna Taylor’s death.

In March the DOJ released the findings of a yearslong investigation into LMPD, which federal officials say found a “pattern or practice” of unconstitutional policing. The DOJ is currently seeking public input on how to reform the department as it crafts a settlement agreement with the city.

Jess is LPM's Education and Learning Reporter. Jess has reported on K-12 education for public radio audiences for the past five years, from the swamps of Southeast Louisiana at WWNO, New Orleans Public Radio, to the mountains of North Carolina at WUNC in Chapel Hill. Her stories have aired on national programs and podcasts, including NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition, Here & Now and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. A Louisville native, Jess has her bachelor's degree from Centre College, and her masters in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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