Mayor Fischer: Evening Brought 40 Arrests, Shots Fired At Police, Incident In Jail
Mayor Greg Fischer said at a Sunday morning news conference that about 40 people were arrested Saturday night in connection with protests throughout Louisville.
Fischer confirmed reports that shots were fired at Ninth and Broadway around midnight, and at least five bullets were fired on LMPD officers — three officers were inside an LMPD vehicle that was hit by a bullet and another officer felt a bullet whizz by his head, Fischer said.
Fischer thanked Louisvillians who stayed home, and said he’s heard complaints about too much force used by police as well as not enough force.
“If anyone got caught up at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong use of force, I apologize for that,” Fischer said.
Public criticism has centered on the mayor's physical absence from the protests. A common question now is how he will mend broken trust.
"The only way to do that is through understanding people's perspectives and what happened to them and understanding what we can do to prevent any type of incident that occurred because of poor training or application of force," he said.
He mentioned existing programs, such as Lean Into Louisville.
"We also need these issues to be respected as legitimate by the people that have grievances as well. So you know, we look to them to help us in developing structures to address those," he said. "But at the end of the day, we have to come together and understand each other's perspectives and how to get together and grow better as a community. So we'll make every attempt to do that."
Another flashpoint has been the administration's explanations of events that are vague or contrary to available evidence. For example, reporters and observers questioned the police and administration's explanations of why officers seized and destroyed protesters' supplies on Saturday before curfew.
Fischer said that night police believed there were flammable materials along with milk and water. Police later declined to share details about those materials.
"I'm telling the truth as I know the truth. I always have I always will," he said. "I'm not seeing what other people are seeing, but I'm seeing what I believe the truth is if I find out later that that wasn't the truth, I will say that as well."
Amy Hess, chief of public safety, said about 20 inmates in the maximum-security section of the jail broke out windows and exited their cells before damaging equipment, chairs and interior windows.
“A special operations response team was in the jail and able to get the situation under control,” Hess said.
She said four inmates were injured, three of whom were taken to the hospital for treatment. She said the special operations team used a “minimum level of force” to contain the threat, and none of the inmates involved were arrested as part of the demonstrations.
Hess told WFPL the motive of the incident is still under investigation.
Chaotic Weekend Of Breonna Taylor Protests
The first demonstration in Louisville was held Thursday evening, and it was largely peaceful until seven people were shot near Metro Hall as protesters were attempting to flip a police transport vehicle. All survived; police have not yet identified the shooter. On Friday evening, the protests grew larger and chaotic, and dozens of businesses downtown were vandalized and looted. Saturday morning, Fischer issued a new state of emergency, imposed a 9 p.m. curfew and called in the Kentucky National Guard. Last night, at least 33 people were arrested.
Breonna Taylor, 26, was killed on March 13 as LMPD officers executed a "no-knock" search warrant. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he didn't know the plain-clothes officers were police officers and believed their home was being invaded. He fired a shot, striking an officer in the leg, and the police shot back, killing Taylor.
Walker was initially charged with attempting to murder a police officer and first-degree assault, but prosecutors later dropped those charges. The officers involved in the raid are on paid administrative leave. The FBI is investigating Taylor's death, and Police Chief Steve Conrad announced amid the scrutiny that he will retire in June.
Taylor's shooting death by police is one of several recent instances of police violence that have sparked outrage and protests nationwide this weekend.
Correction: This story was edited to remove an inaccurate description of Mayor Fischer's comments.
This story has been updated.