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Louisville Police Tossed Drinks on Unsuspecting Residents

Years passed before Louisville victims discovered that the people responsible for attacks in which drinks were thrown were former members of an elite police squad assigned to the Louisville Metro Police Department, sworn to protect the public, not to harass them for fun.  On paper, they were called VIPER, and, later Ninth Mobile, and acted as established police units driving unmarked cars tasked with getting guns and drugs off the streets in the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. On the street, they were “jump-out boys” − a moniker used for similar units across the U.S. including Baltimore, where Gun Trace Task Force officers robbed drug dealers, and planted evidence on innocent people. The drink-throwing attacks, which took place in 2018 and 2019, came to be known as Slushygate and involved a select group of officers driving around the city "randomly targeting and assaulting civilians" from unmarked vehicles, USA Today reports. Some of the "jump-out boys" recorded the attacks on cell phones and shared them with fellow officers either via group text or "by huddling around phones during breaks."

In October 2022, former Ninth Mobile officers Curt Flynn and Bryan Wilson were sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in Slushygate. After an internal investigation launched once the federal charges were filed, Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel suspended four officers who knew about the attacks but did not report them, as well as a fifth who acted as a driver for the attacks. Internal documents show at least three more Ninth Mobile officers were involved in a text thread where attack videos were shared, but quit the force before the end of the investigation. While the attacks were well-known in Ninth Mobile, nobody reported them. “I thought this is just some dumb prank stuff that specialty units do,” Detective Joseph Howell, who received a 10-day suspension, told investigators. “And everybody seems to be OK with it.” Detective Beau Gadegaard, also suspended for 10 days, told investigators he feared other officers would not have his back if he reported the misconduct. Detective Jonathan Robbins, who was initially set to be fired for driving Slushygate attackers until Gwinn-Villaroel reduced his punishment, citing his remorse, said Ninth Mobile had “a culture of what happens in the house is addressed in the house and the rest of the department doesn’t need to know our dirty laundry.”


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