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Louisville Police Take Stand on Protesters, But Push-Back Ensues

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Police in Louisville, Kentucky, say they need to crack down on street protests in the wake of a rowdy Saturday night that followed more than 70 days of unrest, but some protesters are pushing back against the new rules.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the Louisville Metro Police Department announced it is trying to take back the streets.

“LMPD continues to balance the First Amendment right to protest with the public safety needs of the entire community. For nearly 75 days, Louisville residents have taken to the streets to express their desire for accountability and change,” the department tweeted, noting the safety risks of protest caravans.

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“One of the primary ways of doing that has been to hold nightly caravans – both cars and foot marches – throughout the city. We have seen increasingly unsafe behavior, including an escalation in aggressive behavior over the past week or so. Due to ongoing safety concerns and an increase in aggressive behavior over the past week, including several incidents Saturday night, LMPD has determined the protest caravans cannot continue as they have been,” the department tweeted.

“Starting tonight, LMPD will enforce all laws as it relates to the caravan: All pedestrians must stay out of the streets – staying on sidewalks and following all laws for pedestrian traffic. Cars and pedestrians will not be allowed to block intersections for any length of time. Participants who refuse to comply with any law or lawful order will be eligible for citation and/or arrest,” police tweeted.

Are these protests now just anti-police marches?

The announcement followed a violent Saturday night in which 12 people were arrested, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Eight people were charged with felonies, police spokesman Lamont Washington said. Four others faced misdemeanors after a demonstration devolved into violence that centered on the Fourth Street Live area, a collection of stores and restaurants in downtown Louisville.

“This evening, protesters, during their march, blocked roadways, surrounded vehicles that tried to avoid the protest, shot paintballs (at) passing motorists, destroyed property at 4th Street Live while it was occupied with patrons, set trash cans on fire, and then continued to Jefferson Square,” Washington said via email. “Based off these actions, the assembly was deemed unlawful.”

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The new police edict didn’t seem to make a dent in crowds that turned out to protest Sunday night, although police did cite several marchers for violating the law, according to WHAS-TV.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the new rules need to be obeyed for safety’s sake, according to WHAS.

“We’re just concerned about where all this can lead,” Fischer said. “We’ve heard back from many of the protesters that they appreciated the engagement and understanding of the change.”

He said “an increase in aggressive behavior” triggered the response.

“We can’t have that, so we have to have some orderliness to the city so regular citizens can go about their day-to-day activity and you can still protest while you’re doing that, but you can do so peacefully,” Fischer said.

Chanelle Helm, president of Louisville’s Black Lives Matter chapter, said he isn’t buying that.

“I think we really need to look at the nature in which community safety is governed,” she said.

“I don’t think that in any sense that what LMPD is saying has anything to do with the protest,” she said. “In fact it really has to do with them maintaining control or power over folks and use the law in their advantages.”

A New York-based social justice group called Until Freedom issued a statement saying it will not be “deterred by arbitrary rules.”

“We will join local protesters to express our First Amendment rights and demand justice for Breonna Taylor, including marching on the streets. LMPD will not dictate how we demand justice. If the city of Louisville wants the protesters to follow the rules, arrest and charge the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor,” the group said.

Louisville’s protests have centered on the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was killed March 13 when police executed a no-knock search warrant at her apartment during a narcotics investigation. Police were responding to a shot allegedly fired at them by Taylor’s boyfriend. That shot struck one officer.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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