‘Have to wait and see’: David James plans ahead while looking back as Metro Council president
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A pandemic, social unrest and an economic crisis made David James’ time as Louisville Metro Council president challenging, to say the least.
“If you would’ve told me that all those things were going to happen at the same time,” James said, “I would’ve said, ‘No, that can’t happen.’ But it did.”
On the day after he announced his departure from the position he’s held since January 2018, James discussed difficulties he and the city experienced.
He recalled how in March 2020, information trickled in slowly of a police shooting.
“I remember understanding that there has been a police shooting,” James said. “And I remember the person that had been shot was a person I had actually trained in recruit school, Jon Mattingly. And so, I remember texting him and saying ‘I’m glad you’re OK.’ But I didn’t know about everything else that happened. I don’t even think I realized someone else had been killed in that shooting at the time.”
Soon, everyone would know the name Breonna Taylor.
As the story of what happened in her apartment riddled with bullet holes began to be revealed, James found himself in a difficult position.
As a former police officer himself, he had earned a reputation for supporting police following violent encounters.
“Sometimes, I don’t know why, but this is the way it goes,” James said. “Depending on the color of your skin, you can or cannot say certain things in America.”
James was also a frequent critic of former Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad and of Conrad’s boss, Mayor Greg Fischer.
It was a relationship that strained even further during the protests.
“I think that it’s important that you talk to people, especially in times of crisis,” James said. “And me being out talking to people, during that time when the Mayor would only talk through a Facebook presentation, was very frustrating for me and many other council members.”
As James prepares to leave the job he has held for five years, he expressed no apologies.
“I’ve always tried to be very direct about how I feel and try to say that to the community and try to convey that to the community,” James said. “Sometimes people don’t like that, but I feel like you’ll always know where I am.”
James also said he had no regrets about not running for mayor, a choice he made after medical issues.
As for his future, James would only say “have to wait and see.”
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