LMPD officers say they’re being told to stand down during protests

LMPD officers say they are being given orders to stand down during protests by Mayor Fischer, endangering lives and allowing for the destruction of property.
Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 6:58 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police Officers say they are being given orders to stand down during protests by Mayor Greg Fischer, endangering lives and allowing for the destruction of property.

George Rodman, a retired LMPD officer and the father of fallen LMPD Officer Nick Rodman, made the statements during a rally Tuesday morning.

“When the vandalism began, front-line officers were given an order of ‘Stand down from the mayor, stand down from the mayor.’"

Rodman and numerous LMPD officers have reached out to WAVE 3 News, concerned they are being told to retreat during violent protesting, even when innocent bystanders, protesters and officers are at risk.

One ranking officer who spoke anonymously, and some members of Metro Council, said Fischer’s office is more concerned about how the police response to violent protesters is going to look in the media than he is about people’s safety.

WAVE 3 News took those concerns to Fischer on Tuesday. The mayor said the main goal is always to keep people safe, and de-escalation is a way to do that.

When pressed further, and after clarifying that the incidents officers are responding to are violent, Fischer said there is a constant debate about when to engage, and said it is not his decision. He said the person making the decisions to either retreat or move in during violent protesting in Louisville is LMPD Interim Chief Rob Schroeder.

“Ultimately, Chief Schroeder, and then it would go to the commander and whoever is on the ground at that point,” Fischer said. “Sometimes I’m around when those decisions are made, but Chief Schroeder makes the decisions.”

Rodman’s rally and Fischer’s news conference Tuesday morning came a day after the city experienced two more rounds of violence at the hands of downtown protesters.

Monday afternoon saw bricks being thrown at protesters, a cinder block thrown at a WLKY news crew’s vehicle, a truck driver stopped by protesters who attempted to pull him out of his vehicle, a confrontation between protesters and a pregnant woman trying to drive downtown and another confrontation between a sheriff’s deputy and protesters who surrounded his vehicle.

Since the protests began, there have been numerous gunshots fired at officers as well.

"The evil-doers are continuing to do what they want because they know there are no repercussions," Rodman said. "Citizens of Louisville, you should not live in fear. But unfortunately, that's the condition our city is in."

Fischer added that he recognizes the frustrations of the officers and that they have a difficult job and that public safety comes first.

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