LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Constable shoots woman in Walmart parking lot in southwest Jefferson


A Jefferson County constable shot a woman suspected of shoplifting in a Walmart parking Wednesday afternoon, Louisville Metro Police said.

Store security at the Walmart in the 7100 block of Raggard Road in southwest Jefferson County alerted Constable David Whitlock of a possible shoplifter at about 3:30 p.m., police said.

Whitlock, who does work off-duty at the store, wasn't working but was in the store shopping, said Dwight Mitchell, a police spokesman.

Whitlock told police he approached a female suspect in her car in the parking lot. He said the woman ran over his foot, prompting him to fire his gun, Mitchell said.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was shot in the arm and hand, Mitchell said. It was not clear how many shots Whitlock fired.

Whitlock was taken to Jewish Hospital Medical Center Southwest for treatment. The woman went by a private car to Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, but it's unclear if she drove herself or someone else took her, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that as of Wednesday evening, no charges have been filed against the woman.

Investigators with the Louisville police department's Public Integrity Unit are looking into the incident to determine what happened, Mitchell said.

Whitlock has been criticized in the past for using his arrest powers without adequate training.

He has been carrying a gun and issuing tickets in his district in the southwestern part of the county since being sworn in as constable in January 2007. He was re-elected in 2010.

Constables are elected under the state Constitution, which gives them some arrest powers, such as enforcing traffic laws and serving warrants. Their powers are limited in some cases, such as domestic violence or monitoring sex offenders.

Whitlock has drawn criticism for carrying a gun and having several deputies sworn in to help him carry out his duties. Those deputies eventually had their powers revoked by the circuit judge who had sworn them in after then-mayor Jerry Abramson said he disapproved of the deputies.he other two constables in Jefferson County have made few, if any, arrests over the years.

In a 2007 story by The Courier-Journal, Whitlock said he was trying to beef up security for the residents of his district because there were so many demands on the metro police department.

In 2002 Whitlock entered an Alford plea in a theft case against him. With an Alford plea, a defendant maintains his innocence while admitting there is enough evidence to convict him

In 2000, Whitlock had been found in possession of stolen computer equipment. He completed a diversion program and his record was expunged, which allowed him to run for office.

Whitlock said at the time that he had participated in police explorer training programs as a teenager, learning about police work. He pledged to get additional police training in his new role as constable.

He was not available for comment Wednesday and it was unclear if he has received any additional training.

At the time he was first elected, some members of the community, including metro council members and an official with the sheriff's department, expressed concern about his lack of training.

Lt. Col. Carl Yates called his lack of training is "negative reflection" on all law enforcement.