LMPD announces safety plan ahead of Black armed group action, counter protests

Police will be limiting vehicle access in parts of downtown Louisville and prohibiting parking near Jefferson Square Park on Saturday.
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 8:15 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As multiple armed groups make plans to come to Louisville, police say they want to keep things safe.

At a press conference Thursday, Major Aubrey Gregory said LMPD is communicating with local protesters, the NFAC and others launching counteraction. The NFAC, also known as the Not F****ing Around Coalition, announced a “descent” on Louisville this Saturday to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. In response, counter-protesters have also called on their members to come to Louisville.

“Everything from the Kentucky militia, Mississippi militia, a group that calls themselves the Patriots for Reclamation, a lot of Three Percent groups, One Percent groups, from as far away as Kansas,” Gregory said. “We have been in contact with both groups coming to Louisville, and we expect nothing but a peaceful protest this weekend.”

Gregory said groups with opposing views will be separated on 5th Street; police will create a “no go” zone with bike rack barriers. He explained it will look “a lot” like it did on June 27, when members of a Three Percenter group said they were coming to downtown Louisville but never showed up.

“We’re going to try and keep those people who have alternate viewpoints but are both exercising the first amendment rights to express those viewpoints, we’re going to try to keep them separated on both sides of 5th street,” Gregory said.

Police will also be limiting vehicle access in parts of downtown Louisville and prohibiting parking near Jefferson Square Park. LMPD announced the following road closures:

•            Close down Jefferson Street between 4th and 7th streets. (Road closures start at 8 a.m.)

•            Close down Liberty Street between 5th and 7th streets.

•            Close down 5th Street between Market Street and Muhammad Ali.

•            Close down 6th Street between Market and Liberty streets.

In a statement, LMPD said it wants to make sure the area is as safe as possible.

“LMPD remains committed to peaceful expression of views under the First Amendment. As we have done for several weeks, there will be no need for police intervention as long as there is no threat to personal or public safety. We will not allow the barricading of streets by non-law enforcement, impeding traffic, or attempting to threaten or force people not involved in the protests from their intended destination.”

LMPD will intervene only if they see unlawful behavior according to Gregory. He said state and federal agencies are aware of Saturday's events, but reinforcement has not be requested.

LMPD confirms the NFAC is expected to meet Saturday at Baxter Park and march to Metro Hall.

Speaking to WAVE 3 News, NFAC founder Grand Master Jay clarified the group’s goals. He explained the NFAC’s only concern is the movement for justice in the Breonna Taylor case.

“The NFAC has been misrepresented by many on social media and so forth, and we’re here to end those theories,” he said. “We’re not here to cause chaos. There have been rumors that we’re coming in to hunt people down. These are all misperceptions. Again we are simply exercising our constitutional rights to assemble and bear arms.”

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