Mayor Fischer calls on LMPD chief to review procedures after Black Lives Matter march Sunday
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he's asked LMPD Chief Steve Conrad to review how to handle rallies and marches like the ones held Sunday in the aftermath of the incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he's asked LMPD Chief Steve Conrad to review how to handle rallies and marches like the ones held Sunday in the aftermath of the incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A Black Lives Matter march made its way down Broadway through downtown Louisville on Sunday, and although no one was hurt and there were no arrests, LMPD and the organizers of the march showed differing opinions on how the crowd was handled.
"I recognize ... that some people were upset by steps that officers took to route people off the street and onto sidewalks during a Black Lives Matter march down Broadway after one of the rallies," Fischer wrote Monday. "When I first saw the photos and videos, I too, had concerns, which I shared with Chief Conrad on Sunday night."
Much of the controversy surrounded officers' use of their batons to block the crowd from walking on the street.
"They started corralling us like cattle," said Chanelle Helm, organizer of Black Lives Matter Louisville. "There were at least 20-25 cars, two paddy-wagons, a line of police with billy clubs, or whatever they were, that looked like broomstick handles."
LMPD released a statement, saying in part: "The use of these sticks was not meant to indicate a physical threat toward anyone, but served as a visual effect to help clearly define the barrier's limits and intent."
Below is Fischer's full statement:
On Sunday, Aug. 13, our city hosted three separate rallies in support of the people of Charlottesville, Va., and in opposition of the acts of domestic terrorism that occurred there over the weekend.
I’m extremely proud that all of those events were peaceful. I’m proud of the marchers and grateful that the hundreds who participated were kept safe. And I appreciate the work of Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad and his officers to help ensure that safety.
I recognize, however, that some people were upset by steps that officers took to route people off the street and onto sidewalks during a Black Lives Matter march down Broadway after one of the rallies. When I first saw the photos and videos, I too, had concerns, which I shared with Chief Conrad on Sunday night.
It is important to keep in mind that the officers’ responsibility was to keep people safe from traffic, to provide a safe space for them to march and to provide security in the event that counter-protesters emerged. And they were successful in those efforts.
Officers are trained to use a baton in the event that a horizontal police barricade is required in situations like this. I appreciate, though, that the batons prompted feelings of fear and mistrust among many of the marchers, their families and friends, as well as some who saw the images later.
That’s a reality we cannot ignore. And that’s why I asked the Chief to review how we should best handle incidents like this should they happen in the future.
This review has started, and we will share its results with the community.
I take great pride in the willingness of Louisvillians to come together to talk out our differences and our challenges, no matter how difficult.
LMPD strives to be the most effective community partners they can be, and I reiterate my appreciation for their service and their desire to always improve.
I also ask our marchers to maximize effective communication and cooperation with LMPD, with peace, safety and constitutional rights for all being the guiding values.
I believe that trust in our community comes from transparency, and I commit that we will continue with transparency as one of my administration’s values.
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