LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville police remained alert for potential clashes Saturday, but said planned protests and a potential counter-protest remained peaceful — until a shooting around 9 p.m. at Jefferson Square Park.
Metrosafe reported "multiple victims" Saturday evening, but no further information was immediately available.
Earlier Friday, Louisville Metro Police Department announced plans to set up barricades, close streets and have an increased presence downtown amid reports of armed counter-protesters coming to the area.
Reports circulated on social media suggested members of an armed group, known as American Freedom Fighters, would gather Saturday morning at Jefferson Square Park to oppose racial injustice protesters.
For nearly a month, those protesters have marched and gathered in Louisville to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, who died March 13. Taylor, a black woman, was shot and killed by white LMPD officers during a raid on her apartment.
Protests in the last few weeks have remained largely peaceful, but some days were marked by violence, property damage, authorities firing tear gas and pepper balls at protesters and an altercation stemming from a group of protesters blocking traffic.
To oppose possible counter-protesters, the Facebook group Derbycity Autonomous Collective planned the "Louisville Against outside Agitators" event a 9 a.m. Saturday. Groups gathered in the area of Jefferson Square Park in anticipation of the counter-protesters showing up.
In a news release Saturday evening, LMPD spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said about 30 counter protesters gathered in Thurman Hutchins Park, on River Road for a few hours but never went downtown. Around 12:30 p.m., officers reopened streets and began removing barricades.
Just before 2 p.m. Saturday, a group of protesters left Jefferson Square Park and marched through downtown down Main Street to Louisville Slugger Field and back, according to WDRB's Sara Sidery.
“Everybody to one side!” Protesters left the park and started to march down Main St. — but are reminding everyone to give traffic a lane to pass. People in one lane, cars in the other. @WDRBNews pic.twitter.com/54zmYX6gFN— Sara Sidery (@SaraSideryWDRB) June 27, 2020
#Louisvilleprotest march went down to #louisville slugger field and now heading back down Jefferson st. Haven’t encountered a group of counter-protesters yet but people here believe they could be in the area. @WDRBNews pic.twitter.com/mCHCsTkzrk— Sara Sidery (@SaraSideryWDRB) June 27, 2020
Back inside Jefferson Square Park, protesters chanted as police, several yards away, were packing up barricades and clearing the area.
While a few protesters confronted some officers, those in charge of the protests told them to leave the officers alone to keep everything peaceful. Other officers stayed to talk to young people and listened to their concerns about systemic racism and mass incarceration of Black people.
Also on Saturday, families marched at Waterfront Park with their children leading the way as part of the Million Kid March.
This story has been updated to reflect the shooting that occurred at about 9 p.m.
- Planned march by armed group in Louisville draws rebuke from mayor, inquiries from police
- LMPD plans barricades, increased presence downtown amid reports of counter-protests this weekend
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