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Mother of Woman Shot by Police: Demand Justice 'The Right Way'

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Looking to defuse tensions in Louisville over the fatal shooting of a black woman by police who broke down her door, the victim’s mother on Friday called on protesters to continue demanding justice but to do it in “the right way without hurting each other.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Breonna Taylor’s mother hours after protesters shot and wounded at least seven people late Thursday outside City Hall. At least one victim was in critical condition, Louisville Metro Police said early Friday.

“No officers discharged their service weapons,” and all seven shot were civilians, police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

In her statement, Tamika Palmer said her daughter, an emergency medical technician, devoted her life to others, and the “last thing she’d want right now is any more violence.”

“Please keep saying her name,” her statement said. “Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can and we will make some real change here. Now is the time. Let’s make it happen, but safely.”

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Beshear, speaking on CNN, said the protest started peacefully but that some people later “instigated and caused some actions that turned it into something that it should not have been.”

Louisville’s mayor also called for peace as he said two of the wounded in his city underwent surgery while five were in good condition.

“I feel the community’s frustration, the anger, the fear, but tonight’s violence and destruction is not the way to solve it,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a video posted to Twitter.

Thursday night’s violence came as protesters across the country, in cities including Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Memphis, joined demonstrators in Minneapolis to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody. The Minneapolis protests escalated into riots, with stores looted and buildings intentionally burned.

The protests in Louisville quickly followed the release of a 911 call Taylor’s boyfriend made on March 13, moments after the 26-year-old EMT was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door. No drugs were found in the home.

Around 500 to 600 demonstrators marched through the Kentucky city’s downtown streets, the Courier Journal reported. The protests continued for more than six hours, ending in the early hours of Friday as rain poured down.

At one point, protesters took turns hoisting the stone hand of King Louis XVI after it was broken off his statue outside City Hall. Shots were later heard, prompting some of the protesters to scramble for safety.

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“Understandably, emotions are high,” Fischer tweeted just before midnight, sharing a Facebook post that urged people to remain non-violent as they demand justice and accountability. “As Breonna’s mother says let’s be peaceful as we work toward truth and justice,” the mayor wrote.

Focus on Taylor’s death has sharpened since her family sued the police department this month. The case has attracted national headlines.

Around 12:20 a.m., Fischer tweeted a video he said was a message from Taylor’s family.

Meanwhile, live video from downtown Louisville around 12:30 a.m. showed some protesters behind makeshift wooden barricades, which appeared to be made out of picnic tables spray-painted with the words “You can’t kill us all.”

Do you think protesters in Louisville will heed this woman's call for peace?

A small fire inside a trash can was visible in the middle of the street.

Police in body armor and face shields held batons and lined up downtown.

They appeared to fire rubber bullets and deploy tear gas canisters, fogging the air and inducing coughs among the remaining members of the crowd. Protesters recorded officers with their cellphones.

Kentuckians are still under social distancing mandates driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many protesters wore masks.

Chants early Friday included “No justice, no peace” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”


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