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Metro Council discusses curfews, cameras, community centers following mob violence

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The Louisville Metro Council met Thursday to discuss possible solutions following Saturday's violence. The Louisville Metro Council met Thursday to discuss possible solutions following Saturday's violence.
Wone Burnett Wone Burnett
Cheryl Jaggers Cheryl Jaggers
Jayjuan Taylor Jayjuan Taylor
Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Five days after a mob of teenagers turned to violence in Waterfront Park and downtown Louisville Metro leaders asked the city's youth why? And what's next? 

Their answers were blunt, prompting Council members to ponder both opportunities and consequences.

Even at dusk on Thursday Wone Burnett had no worries about bringing his 8-year-old daughter Alize to Waterfront Park.

Especially the past couple of days. "I think they're doing a good job, seeing what they're doing," Burnett said. "Keeping the patrol around and everything."

At least six Louisville Metro Police Department cruisers passed or patrolled Waterfront Park in the hour that our WAVE 3 News crew was there Thursday evening. The high-visibility tactics raised Cheryl Jaggers' comfort level considerably.

"Any reports of anything that's going down-any groups that are being formed-to create havoc on the city we want to know about," she said. Her neighbor was among those injured when groups of teenagers turned violent.

"We're gonna come to the waterfront and we're gonna do what we do," said Jayjuan Taylor, one of the teenagers who attended summits Mayor Greg Fischer's ‘Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods team held earlier that afternoon. 

Coordinator Anthony Smith characterized the meetings as good give-and-take. "But they pushed back a little," he said. "Told us we need to go out in the community-they said we might not have had the right kids in the room."

"Like, they had kids from private schools and other places that they don't go through what I go through," Taylor said. That observation echoed claims heard only hours after Saturday's violence; that those responsible simply were acting out the frustrations they can't escape.

"There's nowhere to go," Taylor said. "The community centers aren't the community centers anymore."

"They want it to be theirs," Louisville Metro Council member Barbara Shanklin (District 2) said. "Those Community Centers need basketball. Updated with electronics (games) the things that young people today do."

Shanklin advocated renovation and re-purposing the Centers in the Democratic caucus prior to Metro Council's meeting. Councilman Dan Johnson (D-21) raised concerns about downtown's crowded juvenile detention facility. 

Councilman David Yates (D-25) lobbied for drone cameras to track crowd movements. "There are concerns about privacy and we need to address them," Yates said. "We also need to be pro-active rather than reactive.

Shanklin also pressed for enforcement of Metro Louisville's curfew law as a way to hold parents accountable. "If you brought Johnny home two or three times, and Mom had a $50 fine, Johnny would stop being out on the corner," she said.

"Everybody's trying to rush us to change it," Taylor said. ‘It won't come quickly."

Burnett believes some things aren't negotiable; Waterfront Park belongs to everybody.

"You've got a park with just everything," he said. " What more could a kid want?"

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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