LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An email sent by a Metro Police deputy chief reveals concerns that teen flash mobs could escalate to violence.

Wednesday evening, WDRB obtained the email sent by Deputy Police Chief Yvette Gentry to community organization Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in the wake of Saturday's violence in downtown Louisville.

"The major concern is that someone is going to get killed during an incident. That someone could be a very young child that is involved," Gentry wrote.

The email, titled "Flash Mob Violence," says the large gatherings have occurred for two years, but have turned violent in the past several months. The groups include unsupervised kids as young as 11 years old.

Police suggest increased parental supervision, saying "We are not equipped as law enforcement to incur the costs of doubling our night and weekend manpower allocations in order to take kids off the street and search for a parent or guardian to take responsibility for that child and their behavior."

The email lists the following locations as problematic spots for teen gatherings:

  • Waterfront Park
  • Big Four Bridge
  • 1st Street from Broadway to Market
  • Broadway from 2nd – 30th
  • Dixie Hwy from Broadway to Virginia
  • 32 Street and Greenwood Avenue

Gentry says the teen mobs often target people walking alone or in small groups, as well gas stations and TARC buses.

"We typically do not incarcerate kids unless they are involved in felonious behavior," Gentry wrote of the challenges facing police enforcement of youth activity.

In light of recent events, the deputy chief says LMPD plans to increase police presence in the problematic areas, work with churches and social organizations and seek a change within in the judicial system.

To read the entire email, click here.

Councilman Jerry Miller says, he's now wondering what else has happened in the downtown area that people need to be aware of.

"The tone of the memo and some of the wording was such that it didn't appear to be a new problem,and that police recognized that it was a growing problem," said Councilman Miller (D-19).

LMPD tells WDRB that the flash mob problem was never violent until this past weekend.

Attorney Thomas McAdams, who spent the 1980s as legal counsel to Louisville Police, claims crime at Waterfront Park is nothing new, and that in the past, officers were told to hide crime problems.

"After Waterfront Park was built, there was a directive informally from the Mayors office not to report too many crimes in the park because they didn't want to scare people off," McAdams told WDRB.

In response, Chris Poynter, a spokesman with the Mayor's Office said, "I can't speak to what happened in the 1980s. I can assure citizens that his assertion is not the case in 2014."

Although the city's online crime mapping system shows no crime for Waterfront Park in the last 90 days, Chief Steve Conrad assured Council members it would soon be fixed.

He provided a new map on Thursday, showing 21 incidents in the last 90 days, ranging from narcotics, to robberies, to assaults.

Conrad says they are taking steps to fix this technical problem, to let people know about all crime where ever it may occur.


Police data shows 21 crimes in Waterfront Park in last three months

Attorney: Louisville Police hid past crime in Waterfront Park

Mayor Fischer, community leaders respond to youth violence

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