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Louisville Mayor, Police Chief Criticize FOP Letter's 'Threatening Tone'

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The president of the River City Fraternal Order of Police said an open letter sent Thursday to Louisville residents should not be taken as a threat. Still, the mayor and police chief are criticizing the FOP president's "threatening tone" in his remarks and the letter.

On Friday, local FOP President David Mutchler said he wrote the letter to let the public know how Louisville Metro Police officers feel about residents who have lashed out at law enforcement in what he believes is a disparaging or defamatory manner.

"We're not going to, as we move forward, allow anyone to tell lies about us or vilify us," he said during a news conference on Friday afternoon.

"We have a right to call them out, and we will."

But, in a joint statement released late Friday, Mayor Greg Fischer and Chief Steve Conrad said Mutchler's letter and remarks had a "threatening tone." They wrote:

“Mr. Mutchler, in separate phone calls with both of us prior to his news conference, said he was seeking to clarify his position, strike a constructive tone, and emphasize that no person of good will should feel threatened in our city. After listening to his press conference remarks, we remain very concerned that Mr. Mutchler, with the leadership position he holds, does not understand the impact of the tone of his remarks and original letter.

“The threatening tone is not representative of the vast majority of our officers or our citizens – and many have told us that they have a significantly differently view than Mr. Mutchler. His words do absolutely nothing to help build community-police relations and undermine the noble and difficult work our police do every day, from keeping us safe and secure in our homes to protecting our First Amendment right to speak our minds."

Soon after its release on Thursday, Louisville activists and others were instantly critical of the letter; on social media, many wrote that they viewed the letter as a direct threat. Some called for Mutchler's resignation.

He said he will not be resigning.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.