Louisville teen: Community leaders targeting the wrong group of - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville teen: Community leaders targeting the wrong group of kids

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Louisville teen Jayjuan Taylor says community leaders are not addressing the teenagers responsible for the violence. Louisville teen Jayjuan Taylor says community leaders are not addressing the teenagers responsible for the violence.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More victims have come forward since Saturday's outbreak of violence, speaking Thursday in several youth meetings across the city.

WDRB reporters have interviewed people who were attacked and robbed and now, a mother of a victim is speaking up.

Kimberly Hester says her son was caught in the middle of the mess at Waterfront Park Saturday night.

"They surrounded him, they hit him in his jaw, broke his tooth. He went down, they kicked him, they picked through his pockets," said Hester.

She says the whole thing is unsettling.

"I'm angry. I'm just angry. You know, it sucks seeing your kid going through pain and getting hurt," she told WDRB.

Two separate meetings -- one for boys, one for girls -- were held Thursday to reach out to Louisville's young people.

"We were there really just to have a conversation with the young men so I think it went real well," said Anthony Smith, director of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.

Smith ran the boy's meeting Thursday.

"They said we might not have had the right kids in the room," he explained.

He said the meetings are only a starting point.

"They do believe we have work to do, that we need to listen to them more and go to the kids, the ones they say are causing trouble," said Smith.

Smith says the next step is to hit the streets.

"We're going to go to identified hot spots that we know juveniles hang out, where young people hang out. We're going to go there with mentors to start having the same conversation," he said.

"They have the wrong people talking to us about doing the right thing," Jayjuan Taylor, a Louisville teenager, told WDRB.

Taylor was at the boy's meeting and tells us city leaders are targeting the wrong group of teens.

"How'd the meeting go?" WDRB's Emily Mieure asked Taylor.

"You want my personal opinion?" Taylor said. "The meeting, it didn't help. They had kids from private schools and other places that don't even live -- they don't go through what I go through. People dying, people going to jail for life," he said.

Taylor says no one in charge recognizes the fact that Louisville has teen gangs.

"You can address it all you want to. It's not going to stop. It's just a cycle."

Taylor says the violence stems from boredom.

"There's not enough for teenagers to do," said Taylor.

Leaders say they plan to partner with some of the teens that were there and start going out into the community to try and have a larger impact.

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