Seven shot at police protestby The Canadian Press
At least seven people were shot in Kentucky as hundreds of protesters converged on Louisville City Hall demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was fatally shot in March by police who broke down her door.
Louisville Metro Police said early Friday that at least one person was in critical condition. “No officers discharged their service weapons,” and all seven shot were civilians, police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
“I feel the community’s frustration, the anger, the fear, but tonight’s violence and destruction is not the way to solve it,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a video posted to Twitter. He said two of the wounded underwent surgery and five were in good condition.
Thursday night's demonstration came as protesters across the country, in cities including Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Memphis, turned out in alliance with demonstrators in Minneapolis, where George Floyd became the latest black man to die in police custody.
It also came hours after the release of a 911 call Taylor's boyfriend made on March 13, moments after the 26-year-old emergency medical technician was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door. No drugs were found in the home.
“I don’t know what is happening,” Walker told a dispatcher during the two-minute call. “Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
Walker can be heard on the call crying and calling Taylor’s name. He says Taylor is on the ground and that she was shot in the stomach.
Federal and state officials are reviewing the police department’s internal investigation, the police chief announced his retirement and the mayor changed policies on no-knock search warrants. The officers have been placed on leave while the shooting is investigated, but have not been disciplined.
Around 500 to 600 demonstrators marched through the Kentucky city's downtown streets, the Courier Journal reported. The protests continued for more than six hours, ending in the early hours of Friday as rain poured down.
At one point, protesters took turns hoisting the stone hand of King Louis XVI after it was broken off his statue outside City Hall. Shots were later heard, prompting some of the protesters to scramble for safety.
“Understandably, emotions are high,” Fischer tweeted just before midnight, sharing a Facebook post that appealed for people to remain non-violent as they demand justice and accountability. “As Breonna's mother says let's be peaceful as we work toward truth and justice,” the mayor wrote.
Attention on Taylor's death has intensified after her family sued the police department this month. The case has attracted national headlines alongside the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighbourhood in February.