LMPD officer fires pepper balls at WAVE 3 News reporter, photographer during Louisville protest
WAVE 3 News issues statement, condemns officer’s actions
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust and photojournalist James Dobson were struck by pepper balls reportedly fired by an LMPD officer during a protest in downtown Louisville on Friday night.
It was previously reported that the officer was firing rubber bullets, but LMPD spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said the department’s officers do not use rubber bullets, and it was likely that was Rust and Dobson were hit with pepper balls.
Halladay commented again on the incident during a Saturday morning briefing with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
“We believe it was one of our SRT officers; we are still trying to identify which officer,” Halladay said. “Targeting the media is not our intention. There was a lot going on last night, and to be fair to both the officer and to Kaitlin, we need to take a deeper look at what happened and what prompted that action. So we have said that we will do that and if there needs to be discipline we will address it.”
In response to what happened to Rust and Dobson, WAVE 3 News General Manager Ken Selvaggi issued a statement saying, “We strongly condemn the actions of the LMPD officer who tonight repeatedly fired at and hit our reporter and cameraman, both of whom were courageously and lawfully covering breaking news in their community. There is simply no justification for the Louisville police to wantonly open fire, even with pepper balls, on any journalists under any circumstances.”
The statement also said “When the officer fired at Ms. Rust and Mr. Dobson, the two had been following police instructions, were standing behind the police line when they were fired upon, and were not disrupting or otherwise interfering with law enforcement.”
(Read the full statement at the bottom of this story.)
During night two of several hundred protesters gathering downtown, crowds appear to be larger and police were continuing their efforts to clear the area into the early hours Saturday.
A WAVE 3 News vehicle was found vandalized downtown as the crowd intensified.
Rust appeared to have been hit in the video above as she reported during a live segment on WAVE 3 News during the ongoing protest.
Seven people were shot and two officers were hospitalized following the protests Thursday night, an effort to have action taken against three LMPD officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor in March. Taylor was shot during a no-knock warrant that was being served at her home.
Friday morning, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced no-knock warrants would be suspended in the city.
Read the full statement from WAVE 3 News management below on the events that transpired Thursday:
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