LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Some tense moments at Jefferson Square Park Monday afternoon led to four people being arrested and a conversation about how to bridge the gap between protesters and the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Around 4 p.m., some LMPD officers were at the park asking the driver of the “Hoopbus” to move the bus off off Liberty Street because it was blocking traffic, according to a live stream from someone in the area. The driver of the bus, a man named Joey, said the goal of the bus is to unite people through basketball. The “Hoopbus” recently made a trip from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., for the March on Washington but is now headed back to L.A.

LMPD Maj. James Cirillo told the driver of the bus it couldn’t be parked there and people shouldn’t be playing basketball in the street because it’s a safety hazard.

During that discussion, things started to get heated between officers and protesters. At one point, protesters and officers could be seen in the video yelling back and forth at each other. An incident between Major Cirillo and a protester is what sparked the arrests, a witness at the park told WDRB News.


At one point, as officers were making an arrest, a person grabs a basketball and throws it at an officer, hitting him in the head. LMPD didn’t say if that person was arrested.

While officers were putting those arrested in their vehicles, a woman in a red outfit can be seen approaching the officers. It’s not clear from the video, but there appears to be some sort of scuffle between the woman and officers before several officers take her to the ground.

Interim LMPD Police Chief Yvette Gentry responded to the park after the incident to talk with protesters. She talked about the need for change, but said she only has a small amount of time to help until the city finds a permanent chief.

“In a real short time, in less than a month, it’s going to be cold out here and people don’t have a place to lay their heads. That’s the kind of stuff we need to be focused on. And when my clock is ticking, I don’t want to be coming over here arguing about basketball rims when you can’t have a basketball rim in no park because of COVID right now. That’s just a battle I don’t have time to fight,” Gentry said.


Many protesters told Gentry they’re upset with the way LMPD officers respond to the park, saying they immediately take an aggressive approach, which causes tensions to rise quickly. Some protesters pointed out that officers come to the park for minor things, yet when they need officers, no one comes to help. But Gentry said protesters often don’t want officers in the area, pointing out a need for balance and adding that she has other problems around the city that the department is dealing with.

“I had 127 murders in the city. I got defense lawyers flagging me down saying all you care about is them and my clients are being assassinated on the damn highway because you’re not paying attention to nothing else. There’s a balance. We had a 14-year-old and a 10-year-old shot last week. I can’t have ... I have to have a balance. When you say their lives matter, hell yeah they do. That’s Thanksgiving, their lives are going to be changed drastically. Double the murders, while all this other stuff is happening” Gentry said.

In all, LMPD said four people were arrested. They face charges of assault, menacing, harassment with physical contact and resisting arrest. Two officers also suffered minor injuries from the incident.

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