LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, along with local leaders, met Sunday to provide comments on Saturday night's shooting in Jefferson Square Park.
David Lott, who is a member of the board of directors for the KY Alliance, said, "By any measure, this was a tragedy and our hearts are with the family and friends of the person who was killed. It was a traumatizing event for those who saw the situation unfold as well as those who witnessed the confusion afterwards."
Lott said he believed the perpetrator is white supremacy, but police later identified the shooter as 23-year-old Steven Lopez, one of the protesters. Lopez has been arrested more than once over the course of Louisville's protests, according to acting Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder, who said demonstrators in the park have repeatedly asked Lopez to leave because of his "disruptive behavior." Lopez was among a group of 17 protesters arrested June 17. He was charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, harassment and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to an arrest citation.
Lott went on to criticize members of Louisville Metro Government.
"We also saw that on Thursday, in a tone-deaf action, the mayor and Metro Council voted to keep the same budget of LMPD showing no awareness that this movement for change in policing and for justice is not going away," Lott concluded.
At one point, organizers of the news conference accused Louisville Metro Police of paying the shooter -- who at that time was unidentified -- to open fire. It's an allegation Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer flatly denied, calling the claim "absurd."
Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey said while the approval of the budget was not enough, it is a start. Dorsey said this year's budget sets a precedence to address inequity in west Louisville.
Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, was also in attendance. Palmer has expressed gratitude to those who have been peacefully protesting on Breonna's behalf.
In regards to the shooting, Palmer said, "I'm just heartbroken about what happened. I cannot believe that somebody would want to do that. That somebody would want to cause more drama, cause more violence. It's just unreal."
Tyra Walker, a co-chair of KY Alliance, tearfully expressed the tiredness she says she feels regarding the ongoing fight for racial justice.
Walker said, "We want better, we demand better and we are going to get better. We are not done. We are not gonna stop, I don't care what you do. We are not gonna stop, we will be back. We are not gonna stop. Justice for Breonna Taylor. Say her name."
Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey voiced support for peaceful protesting mentioning those who gave their lives during the fight for racial justice. Dorsey gave a tearful plea for the Louisville community to step up, beyond voting and legislation.
"If Louisville does not show up, then we're not worth our salt and we're not the compassionate city that we say we are," Dorsey said. "It is time for all of us to have the same cry. Justice for Breonna. Justice for David McAtee. Stand up. It is time to have your voice heard. You can no longer be silent. You cannot be silent, there is no middle-ground in this fight. You are against racism or you are for it. You have to make a decision. This is the straw that broke the camel's back. Make a decision, the line is in the sand. You either stand with us or you are against us."
The KY Alliance says it's working on a plan to reorganize downtown around Jefferson Square Park.
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