FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Governor Andy Beshear is making it clear he supports Mayor Greg Fischer’s implementation of a 9 p.m. curfew in Louisville. Fischer set the 72-hour curfew Wednesday as demonstrators take to the streets in protest of Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s findings in the Breonna Taylor death investigation.
“I think it’s necessary. I know people might not like it,” Beshear said during his daily media briefing in Frankfort.
The governor then stressed his support of the First Amendment and the right to peaceful demonstrations. However, he said oftentimes there are outsiders who take advantage of situations and create chaos where it isn’t needed.
“There are always individuals who might want to turn something peaceful into something it’s not,” Beshear said.
Kentucky National Guard members and Kentucky State Police troopers were called into the city Wednesday to support Louisville Metro Police officers in keeping demonstrators from blocking public streets, enforcing the curfew, and preventing any possible riots or violence. When protests in downtown Louisville got destructive in late May, Fischer also instructed the governor to send in the National Guard and KSP, to quote “help keep the peace.”
Beshear said there isn’t a timeline for how long the extra forces will be in Louisville.
“That’s something that we look at on a day-to-day basis," he said. “I don’t want to keep them there any longer than is absolutely necessary."
The governor explained that after two LMPD officers were shot while conducting crowd control in Louisville Wednesday night, he is happy KSP troopers and National Guard members were in the city as backup law enforcement. He also stressed how “absolutely wrong” the shooting was and said he spoke to the officers' families.
“I want to condemn this act of violence in the most dark terms," Beshear said grimly. "It is absolutely wrong. The answer to violence can never be violence.”
The two officers, Major Aubrey Gregory and Officer Robinson Desroches, are both expected to make full recoveries. Larynzo D. Johnson, 26, of Louisville, was arrested for the shooting and is charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and 14 counts of wanton endangerment of a police officer.
During the unrest, WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust and photographer James Dobson had to be escorted away and shielded by a security guard in Jefferson Square Park after being confronted by aggressive demonstrators.
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In total, at least 127 people were taken into custody related to protests in the city Wednesday.
Beshear addressed briefly a call he took with President Donald Trump, saying the president offered “additional assistance” in Louisville if it was needed.
“The president and I agreed that right now we had sufficient assets and didn’t need that help," Beshear explained. “It was a positive conversation about what was already in place."
The governor revealed President Trump initiated the phone call and said he was pleased with their conversation.