LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Denorver Garrett, the protester punched in the face by a Louisville Metro Police officer multiple times, is addressing his arrest.
Garrett, also known as Dee, was protesting in Jefferson Square Park on Sunday afternoon when officers approached him. During the arrest, six officers were seen on cellphone video forcing Garrett to the ground as one officer punched him in the face several times.
Bystanders captured video of the arrest, which first surfaced on Reddit, and then was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook.
(WARNING: The following video is graphic and contains profanities and violence. Viewer discretion is advised. The story continues below the video)
With an eye swollen shut and a leg wrap on, Garrett shared his story Monday afternoon. He said he felt like he could have died during that moment.
“I could’ve been a George Floyd yesterday, I could’ve been a Daunte (Wright), but God’s grace is good,” Garrett said. ”It’s the words of a Black man, that’s powerful, that they want to stop. It’s the words of a Black man that they want to stop. I don’t fear them and I’m not gone stop protesting.”
In the video, officers told Garrett he was being arrested because of a traffic violation and was blocking traffic while protesting. LMPD charged Garrett with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to an arrest citation.
“The message that I had yesterday, I was talking about Rosa Parks,” Garrett said. “Rosa Parks stopped going to the back of the bus. She got off work and sat at the first seat that she found, and it’s how I feel out here. I’m not going to the back of the bus no more.”
LMPD Chief Erika Shields issued a statement about the video Sunday, stating the officer who punched Garrett was now under investigation:
“Today LMPD was involved in a use of force incident at Jefferson Square Park while attempting to make an arrest. Social media video of the arrest shows an officer striking a man several times in the face, while he is on the ground. This raises serious questions and is not consistent with LMPD training.
Our officers have to manage difficult situations every day. That’s part of our job. My expectation of officers is to handle these incidents professionally and consistent with their training, every time. I have directed a Professional Standards investigation will be opened immediately into the officer’s conduct as well as the on-scene supervisor.”