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Protesters Say LMPD Arrested The Wrong Person For Waving Gun At Protest

Ryan Van Velzer

Louisville Metro Police arrested a woman for brandishing a weapon during a protest on Friday evening, but a statement put out by police did not show details that protesters say indicate the woman acted in self-defense.

LMPD aerial footage captures the moment as a crowd of protesters march on S Hurstbourne Pkwy. From the air, video shows a protester pulling out a weapon and pointing it at the driver of a brown sedan who appears to be arguing with nearby protesters.

Things look different from the perspective of a video shot at ground level, however. In footage captured by live streamer Sheri Wright, the brown sedan drives closely past protesters and comes to an abrupt stop. The video shows a man behind the wheel brandishing a handgun toward protesters.

Wright said it was the driver who pulled out weapon first.

“So, what do you do when someone threatens you with a gun? You run or you defend, fight or flight,” said Wright in a press conference Sunday morning. “So I’m not going to knock anyone that felt her life was threatened because I certainly felt my life was threatened.”

WFPL News shared Wright’s video with LMPD and LMPD replied with a statement saying the driver was not arrested because he was the victim in the incident.

“LMPD released the video to show the whole story.  No charges are expected of the driver whose name will not be released since he was the victim,” said Sgt. Lamont Washington in an email.

In Wright's footage, the driver begins to pull away as protesters gathered around the car, but abruptly stops. The man opens the driver's side door, gets out of the vehicle and waves his pistol at protesters.

The driver appears to put the handgun away before he goes to the back of the car to examine a dent in the rear quarter panel. It appears that at some point, protesters may have hit the back side panel of his car, but it is not clear in the video when or if that happened.

Following the incident, LMPD arrested Robin Ash for pointing her weapon at the driver. Ash is charged with criminal mischief, wanton endangerment and “convicted felon in possession of a handgun,” according to court records.

Her attorney, David Mour, said his client acted in self-defense and accused LMPD of misrepresenting the facts. Mour will contest the charges, and is considering suing LMPD for frivolous charges if they are not dismissed, he said.

"What LMPD is saying, as usual, is a lie,” Mour said.

Over the weekend, LMPD released this statement on Facebook:

“Yesterday (Friday), during the protest activity in the Hurstbourne/Shelbyville Rd area, individuals were observed surrounding and inflicting damage on a vehicle at the traffic light on Hurstbourne Pkwy. During this event, a woman who was participating in the protest pointed a handgun at the occupant of the vehicle, placing him and others in extreme danger. This occurs at the 30 second mark. Fortunately, officers were able to move the crowd away and took her into custody a short time later without incident.”

Tyra Walker, co-chair of the Kentucky Alliance against Racist and Political Repression, said she was there and watched as police allowed the driver to leave the scene after threatening dozens of protesters with his gun.

“They’re always pointing the fingers at us and calling us the agitators when it’s the people on the outside that are agitating us,” Walker said. “We have the right to defend ourselves if we feel threatened.”

Ryan Van Velzer is the Kentucky Public Radio Managing Editor. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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