Mayor Fischer's remarks from the media briefing, 11 a.m. Sunday, May 31

May 31, 2020

Mayor Fischer's prepared remarks from the media briefing on Sunday, May 31, 2020:

Thank you.

Last night, we experienced our third consecutive night of protests in our city in response to the tragic death of Breonna Taylor locally, George Floyd in Minneapolis and just the general outrage of Americans toward the injustices our African American communities are experiencing. 

Last night’s protest in tone and in size was distinctly different from the previous night. The crowd was smaller and more manageable.

I want to thank the many Louisvillians who respected the 9 p.m. curfew last night and stayed home. You helped keep your city safe – thank you.

I put the curfew in place in order to give people the opportunity to protest peacefully during the day and preserve the peace at night. And the vast majority of protesters were peaceful and respectful – thank you. You set the right tone and the right purpose – and I’m grateful.

Overall, this was a significantly more peaceful protest than what we saw Thursday and Friday nights.

I want to thank Governor Andy Beshear for activating the Kentucky National Guard as soon as I asked. Their presence was very helpful.

I want to thank all of our law enforcement partners for their assistance.

I want to also thank Metro’s Public Works, Parks and Facilities for their incredible clean up job along with assistance from Jeffersontown and Mayor Dieruf for sending their public assets to help. I appreciate locals wanting to help with the cleanup. There will be an opportunity to help later.

I will now describe what I know about the incidents last night:

  • LMPD made about 40 arrests related to the protests. More details will be forthcoming later
  • There were several reports of shots fired throughout the evening.
  • Several small fires were lit (trashcans) with more significant fires around east Broadway corridor – including a vacant building.
  • In particular, five LMPD officers in the area of 9th and Broadway were shot at about midnight.
  • We are very fortunate that no one was hit.
  • Three officers were in a car, which was struck by at least one bullet.
  • Another officer was standing outside the car at the time, while a fifth officer was getting out of another car and felt the bullet whiz by his head.
  • We saw some incidents of looting and burglaries as the evening went on. Not on the scale of what we saw Friday night, but this is still unacceptable
  • These are criminals who are exploiting a sincere protest over the tragic death of Breonna Taylor and using it as a cover to steal from innocent people.
  • Clean up is underway downtown

Looking ahead to tonight, the plan is the same as last night. The 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. curfew will be in effect, and this is for the safety and protection of the public.

The curfew will be enforced as needed and acts of violence, destruction and vandalism will not be tolerated.

Again, thank you to all the Louisvillians who stayed home. And thank you to the many protesters who honored Breonna Taylor’s name and her family’s wishes by saying her name and protesting peacefully.

Really, their goal is the same as our goal at Metro Government – to create a city of peace, safety, justice and equity. That’s the city that my team and I are working with partners throughout our community to create. 

And what these protests – both here and around the country – expose is that we’ve got a lot of work to do. There were dozens and dozens of cities experiencing protest and turmoil in America last night. This is an American problem, a Louisville problem, a problem throughout all American cities.

One of the positive takeaways from these protests is that there is now a broader and well-deserved widespread recognition of the injustices in our country and tremendous energy to call them out and take action. That’s great news for our city and our country. This is work that must be done.

We must put that energy to work every day.

To the protestors, especially the many young people I saw in the crowd, continue to make your voices heard, please do so peacefully, register to vote. Get other people registered to vote.

Find a candidate – of whatever party – whose values reflect yours and work to get them elected.

That’s one way to make your voice heard. To honor Breonna Taylor. I also want to thank Breonna’s family for calling for peaceful protest to honor Breonna.

To everyone who’s marched peacefully these last few nights, and all the folks marching with them in spirit, we would welcome your partnership and we’ll be talking about ways we can work together in the coming days into existing initiatives already underway and any new ones that need to be created. We want dialog turned into action.

Let’s take the energy of this moment and channel that into the ongoing work to make the changes we need to make so that the ideals of equality and justice that are written in our constitution become real and tangible factors in the daily lives of all Americans.

Despite all the chaos, the destruction, the violence, we have not forgotten the heart of the protests, the pain, frustration and fear over Breonna Taylor’s death. And that’s what we need to commit to addressing. Now. Together.