LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer denounced a controversial letter from the head of the local police officers' union that attacks "sensationalists" who are "blind to reason" after a deadly police confrontation in Old Louisville.
Dave Mutchler, president of the River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614, promised that officers would "no longer stand on the sidelines while anyone continues to assault and demonize us."
"To the sensationalists, liars and race-baiters - we are done with you," Mutchler wrote in a two-page letter released to reporters Thursday afternoon.
Mutchler, who is a Louisville Metro Police sergeant, did not return a message left on his cell phone. Fischer later distanced himself from the union leader's words.
"I appreciate that emotions are high after the tragic event of last week," Fischer said in a statement emailed through a spokesman. "This letter does not reflect the sentiments of me or the vast majority of Louisville's citizens, who know that we are all on the same page, working to build safe and strong communities for all of our families."
Mutchler thanked Louisville residents who've supported police after Officer Nathan Blanford shot and killed a man who charged at him with a metal flag pole Saturday afternoon at Fourth and Oak streets.
But Mutchler criticized witnesses who he said "flat-out lied" about the shooting. He then chided media outlets, claiming they "fanned the flames for financial gain."
Some community activists have questioned whether Blanford should've used deadly force, and Mutchler reserved his strongest words for those people.
"Your idiocy and lies are what caused the destruction in Ferguson (Missouri) and other cities around the country," he wrote. "We won't be tolerating that here.
"Your ridiculous demands and anti-law enforcement attitude has reached a level that is unacceptable. You want our attention? Well you have it. Consider yourselves on notice."
A Metro Police spokeswoman said Chief Steve Conrad wouldn't comment on the FOP letter until at least Friday. Friday morning, the spokeswoman said Conrad wouldn't be available all day.
Rev. Gerome Sutton, who led a community meeting about police relations Thursday evening in Louisville's West End, called on Conrad to respond.
"The chief ought to have something to say," Sutton said. "That letter is a threat. That's not going to develop a relationship with the police."
Mutchler began his policing career in 1997 and has served with the Marines in Iraq,
. He is serving his third term as president.
In the letter, he also spoke to "the criminal element" in the city, saying, "We do not fear you."
Fischer, who is out of town at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, took about four hours to respond to Mutchler's letter Thursday evening.
"Rather than incite anger and distrust between the police and the community, my administration will continue to work to build those critical relationships and the trust they create," Fischer said in his statement.
Anthony Smith, Fischer's director of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, said at a separate community event Thursday that he'd heard about the letter but hadn't read it.
"I need to look at it," Smith said, declining a reporter's invitation to email him the letter so he could comment. "I'm not going to do it right this second, because we're just finishing up (the community event)."
Read the full text of Mutchler's letter below:
Mayor Fischer's full statement: