LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Police Department is changing how it enforces protest marches and caravans that have been occurring in Louisville for more than 70 days.
According to a statement from LMPD spokeswoman Jessie Halladay, the enforcement changes that go into effect Sunday include:
- All pedestrians must stay out of the streets – staying on sidewalks and following all laws for pedestrian traffic.
- Cars and pedestrians will not be allowed to block intersections for any length of time.
"Participants who refuse to comply with any law or lawful order will be eligible for citation and/or arrest," Halladay said.
The changes to enforcement follow a night in which LMPD officers made 12 protest-related arrests, according to Sgt. Lamont Washington, who said protesters blocked roads and surrounded vehicles that tried to avoid the demonstration.
Citing "ongoing safety concerns and an increase in aggressive behavior over the past week," Halladay said "LMPD has determined the protest caravans cannot continue as they have been."
In a statement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, "We were disappointed by the violence last night and deeply sorry for those who were impacted by scary, tense incidents. 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
Protests sparked by the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, at the hands of LMPD officers serving a search warrant on her apartment in March have been occurring in Louisville since May 28. Demonstrators have gathered nightly at Jefferson Square Park downtown for marches through the city's streets. Car caravans, with protesters sometimes following on foot, are also a regular occurrence and have been spotted all over Louisville.
Among the behaviors Halladay said police "regularly see" in protest caravans, according to her statement:
- Driving into oncoming traffic
- Driving at high rates of speed in excess of the speed limit
- Driving on sidewalks
- Impeding Emergency vehicles (police, fire, EMS)
- Impeding interstate traffic
- Passengers hanging out of or riding on top of vehicles
- Forcing other vehicles off the roadway
- Pointing weapons at others
- Throwing items from vehicles
- Confrontations with other drivers who encounter the caravan
- Blocking of intersections for periods of time
- Dangerous mingling of cars with pedestrians participating in the caravans
This story may be updated.
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