LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- WDRB spoke with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on major topics in the city including Breonna's Law, changes in LMPD and recent protests.
As Metro Council prepares to vote on Breonna's Law Thursday night, Fischer says he is happy to see the council deliberate the ban on no-knock warrants.
"If they're not suspended altogether or eliminated, my order to suspend will stay in place but I'll happily sign their ordinance as it gets to me on Friday morning," Fischer said.
Fischer says it is important for the city to have a top to bottom review of the police department. The evaluation is meant to assess strengths and weaknesses of LMPD while also identifying any opportunities. That review will then be given to the new police chief as a template for how to move forward. He also says the city has reached out to the federal government to find the best policing practices.
"If the community does not feel like the police are practicing effective policing with them, and I want to emphasize 'with them', then we've got a lot of work to do," Fischer said. "So, it's not just a Louisville situation, it's a national situation. I can tell you mayors all over America are working on this right now and I look forward to the progress and improvements here in our city."
When asked about how recent unrest may affect the search for a new police chief, Fischer said he believes it would be motivating for the right candidate. He also said his goal is for Louisville to become a peaceful city, with a compassionate police force. He hopes the right candidate for chief of police will lean into that mission and help make Louisville a more just city.
"My goal is that we're the most peaceful city in America with the most compassionate police force in America," Fischer said. "Compassion means that everybody's human potential is flourishing."
WDRB asked Mayor Fischer how he intends to balance having a police force that better represents the community while also trying to recruit new officers.
"Many of our black police officers feel torn between two worlds, and we gotta really empathize with them and support them," Fischer said. "They're a member of the police force to serve and protect, and the some people in their communities question whether or not we should have policing. So, we've got to support these leaders in our community."
Fischer says it's on everyone as a community to support each other as the city works to recruit a police force that better reflects the community it serves. He says 22 to 23 percent of Louisville residents are African American, and representation on the police force is about half of that. The mayor says the department wants to actively recruit more people of color.
"The message for the community has to be out there that we welcome everybody," he said. "We want our police force to look like the faces of Louisville."
Recent peaceful protests in the city have also seen moments of looting and vandalism. The mayor mentioned seven people were shot during the first night of protests. He says officials are reviewing all of the events that took place within the city over the course of the protests. He also says there is no question that things could have been done differently. Fischer did offer an apology to protesters who remained peaceful as police forces stepped in.
"This was a very difficult and chaotic situation," Fischer said. "I'm very sorry for any of our peaceful protesters that got caught up in the mayhem in the city."
When asked about the possibility of justice for Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, he said the following:
"We're a country, a state, and a city that has laws and the state laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky dictate what we can do here as a city. So, everything I've been able to do to move the case along to the attorney general, we've done. I've called in the U.S. Attorney, the FBI, the Attorney General to also look at the case to make sure that the facts, whatever they might be, that people can agree that the facts came out. So now, this is with the Attorney General and it would be up to him to decide what the next steps are."
Fischer says that process will take a long time and he understands he is asking people to be patient when they are out of patience.
"What I'm working on are the areas that we can move to speed up the process, our police-civilian review board that was started a week ago Friday to look at how we can improve what we have and be part of the solution as well. So, we gotta focus on what we can do while the public gets knowledgeable on how the process works and how their voice can be heard in that as well. So, my only driver here is truth and justice and anything I can do in my office, we will do that and we will do that as quickly as we can."
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