LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Tow trucks removed several vehicles blocking downtown Louisville streets Wednesday morning, and people who refused to disperse were met with pepper balls.
Protesters originally blocked the intersection at 6th and Jefferson Streets around 7:30 a.m. Then just after 8 a.m., they moved down to block the intersection of 6th and Jefferson. About a dozen people were standing in the road as drivers in the area were forced to make U-turns. Sixth and Liberty was also blocked for about an hour.
Some people even took construction signs and cones from the area and used them to block intersections around the courthouse.
Protesters also blocked downtown intersections Monday morning, but police didn't intervene until later in the evening. On Wednesday, officers began moving in with two trucks and pepper balls around 9 a.m. They began towing vehicles at Sixth and Jefferson.
Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini was downtown during Wednesday's protests, and watched everything unfold. He says LMPD's response was warranted, but said Mayor Greg Fischer must take more action on the Breonna Taylor case.
"What they want is the mayor to take final action related to the case and in that, I agree with them," Piagentini said. "I want to see final action from the mayor related to what he's going to do. What we can do as legislators is the best we can, but we need to see more action from the mayor. But we also need to see order."
According to LMPD spokesman Lamont Washington, police made 17 arrests when people refused to stop blocking the streets. Charges range from disorderly conduct to obstructing a highway to inciting a riot. Police also towed five vehicles and confiscated one gun.
Washington said protesters were "engaging with a car on Liberty" when the car sped off, hitting one of the protesters. Another protester pulled a gun as the car was chased. A video of the incident has been released, and police are hoping to speak with the driver of that car. If you have any information, call 574-LMPD (574-5673).
After reviewing the video, Piagentini tweeted that he believes the driver of the car that hit the protester was within his rights.
To be clear, the full video clearly shows the driver (who is African-American) was surrounded, attacked, and had a gun pulled on them. You are allowed to flee to save your life. I didn’t advocate for people to hit people. I am advocating for the protestors to obey the law. https://t.co/IZ0HuVpDBr— Councilman Anthony Piagentini (@CMPiagentini) June 17, 2020
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