Police Free Schools

Brian Thurman’s Story

On November 22, the same night young Movement leader Travis Nagdy was murdered, another innocent life was taken. This time at the hands of LMPD.

Moments before Nagdy was shot twice — once in the head and once in the abdomen — and left for dead in the middle of a busy Louisville street, an LMPD officer shot and killed another innocent-until-proven-guilty Louisville resident whose offense appears to be nothing more than driving with his headlights off on the “wrong side of town.” I am quite certain if this officer was working the beat in another part of town, like mine, the officer’s first response after pulling a car over to alert them their headlights were off, would not be with gun drawn in a “kill-shot” position. But in looking at the officer’s body cam footage, the only video released so far, that’s how it looks.

Anyway, I will share a link to the video in a moment. I need to provide you with more context, first. The video KSP released contains an explainer that runs almost as long as the less than three minutes of footage they shared with us so far. It provides some assumptions that the public is expected to take their word for, I guess. I have some questions about the video, and so far, no one has been able to answer them.

So, let’s set the stage:

At 12:30 am, Travis Nagdy was gunned down, shortly after making what would become Travis’ final post on his Facebook page (please read this editorial from the amazing Hannah Drake). You see, Travis had been a vocal critic of LMPD, once calling them an organized gang during a metro council meeting.

He was intent on catching them in the act. And they knew it.

He started listening in on their police scanners. It’s clear he heard the radio call about the police shooting of Brian Thurman, and that’s what prompted the cryptic post. “All hands on deck 22nd & Gilligan”.

But Travis never made it to the scene with his bullhorn. Can you imagine how different things might be if he had? In the city that lost Breonna Taylor to dirty LMPD cops earlier this year? (More on that later.)

Around 1:00 am, according to news reports, LMPD held a press conference regarding the officer-involved shooting at 22nd & Gilligan. Newly anointed chief Yvette Gentry (a highly commended community selection and a Black female) stated the car had been reported stolen. When? By whom? I need details. Because the answer to that question could lead us to who is behind the corruption in LMPD. 

Some reports say that Travis told friends he thought he was being followed.

Is it possible that officer Harry Seeder (don’t watch the video yet) shot an innocent man, not the driver of a vehicle that was “reported stolen?” Is it possible that manipulative, corrupt, dirty cops came up with the idea to tell the media and their chief that the car was reported stolen to cover up the fact that one of their partners just shot and killed an innocent man who was merely dropping off a friend in her driveway and didn’t realize his headlights were off?

Can you imagine if a charismatic and outspoken leader had shown up with his bullhorn in hand, and followers arrived at the scene as commanded, just a couple dozen blocks away from the square where protests have continued non-stop for 200 days now, how different might things have turned out? When you look at the map, you can see Travis was on his way to that location just South of the gas stations at the 22nd Street exit in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood. A location that, had things been allowed to play out, might have sparked the largest protest in the history of protests. At least here in Louisville. Can you imagine if people found out that night, while cops were trying to clean up that mess, that the person who had been killed at the hands of police that night was an innocent man and that the cops were covering it up? With that much attention and people watching, would they have even been able to?

Hang onto that possibility while I continue setting up the story.

Perhaps Mr. Thurman lost his life due to fear. Perhaps the cop was afraid. Perhaps he was not properly trained to secure the location and de-escalate the situation, and his failure to do so that night on any one of a half a dozen things, could have prevented an innocent man from being shot at least five times. Perhaps he didn’t follow proper protocol. Or perhaps he DID and protocol is what needs to change. We don’t know because they still have not released any additional footage, such as the dash cam, or the radio calls. Or if they are public, people like you and me don’t know how to find them.

Perhaps the officer, in hindsight, knows this man’s death could and should have been avoided, but doesn’t know where to turn because the brotherhood is strong!

The misleading information presented and possible cover-up that follows the night Thurman was killed by LMPD is the part that I need you to see.

Here is a video of the footage from the group Police Overwatch. As of this writing, there are only 176 views. I just made 177. I hope to see that number grow. Be sure to subscribe to their channel while you’re there.

Here’s is another video I recorded with my iphone the night the video was released. I wanted something that started when the actual body cam starts, and not the misleading brotherhood-spun intro. Because bias influences your ability to see the truth. And everyone paying enough attention to form an opinion was hearing misleading information from two “reliable” sources. First, they told us that the car had been reported stolen and second, they told us that the officer was doing his job because the car backed into him. So of course, people are going to say, “the shooting was justified. Of course, it was self defense. The guy was driving a stolen car, for god’s sakes. He had it coming!” You know the drill.

The video begins with bodycam footage but no sound. When the sound finally cuts in, you hear the officer Seeder say, “I’m going to have Kentucky 1-3-2-Zulu-Victor-Bravo.”

If you watch my video, or know what to look for in the video from Police Overwatch, you can see it. Plain as day. In my video, I explain that the video is silent for the first bit. I point out that the car the officer is following appears to have forgotten to turn on their headlights. You can hear my voice a couple of times pointing out the license plate number he calls out over the radio. 

“We’re turning onto 22nd and Gilligan right now.”

Throwing the police car door open and immediately pointing the gun at the driver, the officer yells, “HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! Let me see your hands.”

He spits on the ground, indicating at a minimum uneasiness, but possibly nervousness, fear or anger. I can’t help but wonder if this is how I would be treated if I forgot to turn on my headlights? Would results vary depending on how close I was to downtown vs. my East End neighborhood? Is there more to this story as to why the driver of a yet to be identified vehicle was approached as a threat instead of someone he was supposed to protect and serve?

The officer yells to the driver, whose car door is still closed, to “Turn off the vehicle now!” Just as the car door opens and the driver complies and shows his hands, the officer simultaneously hears his name called over the radio and answers her call, “2 Adam.”

“Is it a white Mercedes?”

“Negative, this is going to be a Honda CRV.” He spits again.

The driver is still seen showing his hands, but the delay is uncomfortable for everyone, including those watching the video. It’s clear no one knows why this man has been pulled over, including the officer, at this point. 

The operator calls back to him the numbers he gave her prior to pulling the car over, “1-3-2-Zulu-Victor-Bravo?”

” 1-9er-2- Zulu-Victor-Bravo,” officer Seeder retorts.

Wait, it’s not the right number? What car has this officer pulled over? Who is the driver? 

As of the moment the officer shoots Brian Thurman, he was still waiting for the dispatcher to run the corrected tags. At no time during the 3-minute video is his car “reported stolen.”

Someone apparently decided it was okay to tell the media and their boss that the car was reported stolen, so she could tell the entire world a version of the story that would take the heat off — of the heat — who was packing heat. You get it.

OK, here’s where I am going to take you on a detour. Once you spot this you’ll know what I’m talking about. But in the psychology of cult leaders, this is not that uncommon. In fact, Scientologists have a name for it. It’s called “Shore Flap.” It’s the practice of allowing a team of people to control the narrative. It may not be the police themselves. It may be their union leadership. How do I know? Because I see the same dynamics in JCPS and the influence a handful of teachers’ union leaders can have over what the public thinks about its own public school district. Again, another detour. We will get to that story later. 

Back to the very unfortunate and very unnecessary death of Brian Thurman.

While the uncomfortable delay continues, and while awaiting additional information about the vehicle in question, it looks like Thurman is trying to get out of the vehicle with his hands in view. The officer barks at the man to “Stay in the car. Don’t move,” which he does. Perhaps also panicking, he also closes the door, isolating himself and the passenger from what’s going on outside.

Dispatch asks his location. “2100 Block of Gilligan.”

“He pulled off on me. I got him stopped.”

“Stay in the car! Do not get out of the car.”

“Stop! Stop! Stop!”

At first you think the officer is barking at the driver again, but after you watch the video a few times you realize that the officer appears to have spotted a passenger, female, getting out on the far side of the vehicle. We also learn she had been instructed by the driver to do so. Probably because they were scared to death and didn’t know what else to do. No one had told them anything, and as far as we know, they had reached their destination and he was dropping her off in that driveway, unaware he was driving a car that had been reported stolen. Remember, that pesky “innocent until proven guilty” thing? That means giving them every benefit of the doubt until there can be a trial. If this had gone to trial. But of course, it can’t. Or can it?

As the lady walks toward the officer, who has been standing in the driver’s blind spot this entire time, gun still drawn, (still nervously awaiting information about who owns that car!), the car begins to back up into the path of the officer. Or should I say the officer begins to cross behind the car to yell to the woman to stay inside. She comes into view and we hear her talking back to the officer just as the car begins to move in reverse.

“Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!” I counted four more times.

Not being able to control the passenger, the driver, the car or his own body, and not being able to decide which of many correct tactical decisions to make first, he appears to panic and make none. Instead he waits until the car is upon him, knocking his body camera go the ground, and the only decision left is to shoot the driver of the car (which if you have watched enough Mission Impossible movies, you know killing the driver isn’t the smartest way to stop a moving car).

You hear him say “fuck.”

You hear five gunshots.

He calls it in. You hear him breathing heavily. Sirens start immediately.

Assistance arrives quickly. He directs them to the victim. He defends his actions by responding to his brother, “He ran over me with the car.”

The video stops.

Two hours later, Travis Nagdy, who put out the “all call” for his own force to oversee the crime scene, is dead, and Yvette Gentry is holding a press conference to inform everyone what happened during the shore flap. Someone either lied to her and she shared it, or she knew it was a lie when she said it. Does she know it’s a lie now?

News media scoops up the lies like footballs and carries them across the finish line. Watch this news story from WAVE3 news reporter Natalia Martinez

Notice which story she leads with. The officer is hit by the car and the officer fires. She calls it a traffic stop. 

Notice anything else?

She uses inflammatory and biasing words like “the officer is run over by the car.” Someone probably fed that to her with intention, as well. Repeating what is fed to you make a reporter’s job easier.

Right. Anything else?

She says the officer said he noticed the car driving without tail lights. She then went on to repeat the lie that apparently came from the officer’s mouth.

“And when he ran the info on the car, he realized the vehicle was stolen.” ~ Natalia Martinez, WAVE3 News

When? In the two in a half minutes from when he noticed the lights were out, to the moment Brian Thurman lay dead or dying in his vehicle, does the officer “realize the vehicle was reported stolen?”

Does Yvette Gentry know about this? Does Natalia Martinez know about this? Does the lady on the radio who was running the tags for a white Mercedes know about this? I don’t know how to find out without giving the corrupt brotherhood and the dirty cops more opportunities to spin their web. One thing I do know? The cop who pulled the trigger knows. And he knows who fed it to the media. Someone had better come forward with the truth before it gets out to the public. Fix this shit.

Meanwhile, we continue to allow ancestors and protectors of colonizers and white supremacists, who maintain control over their own records, to pick and choose which files to release, which evidence to make public, and which version of the story to tell. I would bet you a million dollars they are working behind the scenes right now to manufacture a plausible story so that by the time someone figures this out and starts to demand #JusticeForBrian, it will have been covered up, or explained away, or forgotten. Or will it?

Watch the evidence. Tell your friends. Help this story go viral.

Demand the police demonstrate when and how the car Brian Thurman was driving the night he was shot by killed by LMPD officer Harry Seeder was reported stolen. I’d do an open records request, but then they would know who was asking and I would become their next target (I probably already just did). Force them to own up to their mistakes, their shortcomings, their biases. Make them show us what’s in their hands and in their pockets without tampering with evidence, without delaying the release of records, come forward.

Tell the truth. The world is watching. It’s time.