Jecorey Arthur delivers impassioned plea to city: ‘Everyone in Louisville is responsible for Louisville’
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Metro Councilman Jecorey Arthur was one of a handful of local leaders who spoke at an hourlong news conference Wednesday, addressing the latest instance of gun violence that claimed the life of a teen waiting for his school bus.
A 16-year-old boy died at a local hospital after he was shot at his bus stop in the Russell neighborhood at about 6:30 a.m. His family members said his name was Tyree Smith.
Two other teens were injured but they are expected to be OK.
Arthur, who was the youngest person ever elected to Metro Council last year, spoke candidly for several minutes, mostly about gun violence but also about how historical issues must be addressed in order to tackle today’s crises.
“I carry a gun every day but I don’t shoot it because my basic needs are met,” he said.
The media room was silent when Arthur spoke about accountability, saying it’s not just up to city leaders to drive progress; ordinary citizens should be engaged as well.
“If you can’t hold your kids accountable for doing their homework, you will never hold (Metro Council) President (David) James accountable,” he said. “If you can’t hold the people who live where you live in your own neighborhood accountable, there’s no way in the world you’re going to hold the so-called decision-makers and policy-makers accountable for the consequences of what happened this morning.”
Arthur was clearly moved when he distinguished between being sad and being mad.
“Everybody’s on this stage drying their tears and talking about how sad they are, and there’s a place for being sad,” he said. “But I’m mad. I’m mad because what we have talked about today is something that we’re talking about over and over and over and over.
“It shouldn’t take from 2012 until this budget cycle for us to fully fund an office that is dedicated to preventing violence,” he said, before addressing Louisville residents directly. “I need you to turn that anger into advocacy because that is the only thing that will incite action.”
Arthur closed by pointing out that everyone can play a role in curbing gun violence.
“My job is to pass laws,” he said. “Mayor (Greg) Fischer’s job is to make sure that those laws actually happen. The (police) chief’s job is to make sure those laws are enforced. What is your job? Because everyone in Louisville is responsible for Louisville.”
Metro Council President David James (D-District 6) called on Fischer to lead the city in supporting police officers and fostering a trust that links police and community so they can better serve.
“I would like to offer my condolences and prayers to the family who lost their child this morning,” James said in a statement. “Three children shot at a school bus stop is unacceptable. We need the mayor to lead because this is an issue that requires the executive branch. We stand ready to work in partnership but can’t do it ourselves and need him to be a willing partner. We need to support our officers. We need to rebuild trust between police and impacted communities so they can catch criminals. We need the judicial system to better prioritize who is released.”
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