LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police arrested 12 people during protests Saturday night in downtown Louisville.
In a emailed statement at 1:40 a.m. Sunday, Sgt. Lamont Washington, an LMPD spokesman, said protesters marching downtown "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."
"Based off these actions, the assembly was deemed unlawful," Washington said.
Eight people face felony charges, and four face misdemeanor charges in connection to the protests, Washington said. Some individuals who were arrested were charged with first-degree rioting, a felony, according to a booking log from Louisville Metro Corrections. Other protesters who were arrested were charged with failure to disperse, unlawful assembly and inciting a riot, which are misdemeanors.
Live video of the demonstrations streamed on Facebook by Riotheart Media show protesters marching into Fourth Street Live while many people were outside eating. Demonstrators with megaphones stood on chairs to address Fourth Street Live patrons and lead chants. Others flipped over tables and chairs to clear the way for a vehicle caravan, which drove through the dining and entertainment complex.
The same livestream from Riotheart Media shows at least one protester kicking and damaging a truck, which accelerated and bumped into a car in front of it before driving away. Video shows a group of protesters gathered on the driver's side of the truck, but it's unclear what led up to the altercation escalating.
At a news conference held Sunday by the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, a speaker who was among the protesters near the truck said the people in the truck called protesters racial slurs and one of the people in the truck flick a cigarette at one of the demonstrators, according to a livesteam of the news conference on the Kentucky Alliance's Facebook page.
As a result of Saturday's demonstrations, LMPD announced it would be increasing enforcement of vehicle caravans and prohibiting protesters from marching in streets.
"We were disappointed by the violence last night and deeply sorry for those who were impacted by scary, tense incidents," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement. "We continue to support peaceful protests – but if public safety is threatened, we will arrest those breaking the law, as evidenced by a dozen arrests last night and plans for stricter enforcement going forward."
We continue to support peaceful protests – but if public safety is threatened, we will arrest those breaking the law, as evidenced by a dozen arrests last night and plans for stricter enforcement going forward. https://t.co/3VGReEVsRc— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) August 9, 2020
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