Louisville activists pray for peace after Ferguson decision

RAW: President Obama addresses nation following grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson Officer
MeShorn Daniels (Source: WAVE 3 News)
MeShorn Daniels (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Attica Scott (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Attica Scott (Source: WAVE 3 News)
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens (Source: WAVE 3 News)
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – As a grand jury declined to indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man, community activists in Louisville prayed for peace.

Cars and buildings burned in the St. Louis suburb overnight while organizers scheduled a protest rally for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Louisville Metro Police headquarters on the corner of 7th and Jefferson Streets.

As of midnight, there were no reports of violence or protests in Louisville related to the Ferguson unrest. MetroSafe dispatchers alerted Metro Police officers on the street of the grand jury's decision around 9 p.m. as a precaution.

"Any type of violence is not acceptable," said MeShorn Daniels of the ManUp organization in Louisville. "The idea that people want to be heard for their feelings, there's nothing wrong with that. It's the manner that you go about it."

Another group of activists, led by Democratic Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, planned to drive to Ferguson on Tuesday to protest the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

"We'll do what the folks in the community need us to do," said Scott, who has protested twice before in Ferguson. "That's the best way we can be supportive, because we can't take our own agenda to Ferguson."

Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. Violence broke out as the legal process began, and observers predicted a second wave of unrest after the grand jury's decision.

Protesters looted stores and burned two police cars and multiple buildings on Monday. Police at first fired smoke but later shot tear gas canisters at the crowd.

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens, asked what she would say to students who planned to skip class on Tuesday out of protest, said the district was prepared to react to the events.

"Our schools are places where our students can discuss their feelings, and we have counselors and people in place," Hargens said Tuesday.

Scott said Louisville leaders must learn lessons from the continuing tragedy in the St. Louis area because the two cities have many similarities.

"Ferguson is not isolated," Scott said, adding that police-community relations needed improvement in Louisville, too. "Ferguson is just the loudest, the most vocal, the most visible."

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