6. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer speaks to a group gathered for a vigil in memory of Breonna Taylor on June 6.

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Louisville youth confronted Mayor Greg Fischer on Sunday, pressing for answers about whether he values Black lives and why he waited so long to speak out on the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

A Facebook Live video posted by Lavel White, a filmmaker and city employee, captured about 20 young adults asking Fischer questions and demanding he answer.

Darryl Young, who works with youth through his job at the Muhammad Ali Center, served as an informal liaison to get the group together to meet with Rev. Jesse Jackson, who arrived in Louisville Saturday to join protests and speak against police violence. Young said the group included members of the city's Youth Implementation Team and other young adults from Louisville.

The Youth Implementation Team is made up of 14- to 24-year-olds who advise the mayor for a year and "have an opportunity to learn to increase advocacy skills and be more civically engaged in their communities," according to the city.

The video, which is no longer visible on Facebook, lasts about seven and a half minutes, though the meeting started about half an hour earlier, at 1 p.m. Young said Jackson came in first and addressed the group for about 10 minutes. Then he left, and Fischer entered. The video appears to capture the second half of his conversation with the group.

"Why were you silent for two months on Breonna Taylor's murder?" one young woman asked the mayor.

Fischer paused for six seconds before responding.

"Louisville was amongst the first cities in the country to put out, 24 hours after every officer-involved shooting, everything that we know," he said. "We did that on Breonna's case as well."

The young woman who asked immediately pushed back.

"No. Your ass was not on any media news station denouncing these racist police officers," she said. "This continually keeps happening. Do you just think Black and brown people are disposable, especially Black people?"

She demanded he answer. He said, "Of course not."

"Then why do you act like it? 'Cause your actions speaks louder than words," she said.

"Well, I'm sorry they do to you," Fischer said. He started another sentence that was immediately drowned out by the group.

"If you want to take care of our community, then actually listen to them," another youth said.

"Are you tired because you've been going through s*** for a couple days?" another youth asked. "We tired. We go through this s*** every day."

They raised concerns about everything from the curfew implemented — then lifted — during protests last week, to the city's response in 2018 to protests outside the Federal Building calling for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to be abolished.

Thousands have taken to Louisville streets to protest against police violence and demand justice for Taylor, who was killed by police during a middle-of-the-night raid that was focused on a different person who lived elsewhere.

The youth criticized Fischer for what they saw as surface-level conversations designed to make him look good in the media.


'Love, Support For One Another, Resistance': What Protests Look Like In Louisville

'Love, Support For One Another, Resistance': What Protests Look Like In Louisville

  • Download
  • Transcript

"You've been using us for photo ops for years," one exclaimed.

Young, who is also running for the Metro Council, said that was the tone of the whole interaction. He said he agreed with the point about photo ops.

"I think that was a sentiment by a lot of people in the room," Young said.

Fischer left the room after about 15 minutes. The youth spent the next 20 minutes working on a list of demands, and when Fischer returned, they read them to him and asked him to simply listen instead of responding, Young said.

He said they asked for the city to divest from police, and recruit more social workers to respond to domestic disputes and mental health crises, rather than having police do that. They also asked that he fire and charge the police officers who killed Taylor.

They also asked for another meeting before the end of the month. Young said he expects that to happen.

"People don't want to just hear, well, this is the process or this is how things have to operate," Young said. "I think people want answers now."

In the video, some members of the group also asked whether police would still have a large portion of the city's budget in the next budget.

Fischer said, yes, "they'll still have a bulk of the money." He started talking about more money going toward the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and the nonprofit Evolve502, then he was cut off.

"You had all this money but you didn't have money to help the people most affected by coronavirus — Black people have been disproportionately affected," one young woman said.

Louisville has projected a budget shortfall of $69 million for the fiscal year ending in July 2021, and officials say cuts may be necessary. Fischer proposed continuing this year's budget while details about federal aid and the scope of the losses become clearer. The Metro Council is working on and will pass a budget by the end of the month.

On Sunday evening, Jean Porter, a spokesperson for the mayor, issued a statement on Fischer's meeting with the group of youth, via email:

"The Mayor appreciated bringing several youth together with Reverend Jesse Jackson earlier today. They shared their anger and their pain, and the Mayor acknowledged the gulf between where we are and where we need to be. Young people are at the forefront of the protests, and the Mayor believes they must be at the forefront of the transformation necessary for our city, state and nation to move forward. He has pledged to work with them to make it happen."

This story was originally published on WFPL.org.

Racism in America

Jun 19, 2020

Sonoma County Celebrates Juneteenth

The Sonoma County Juneteenth Committee will host its celebration over zoom this year. Nancy Rogers has served as the chair of the festival for the…
IMG 2821
  • SoCo Calendar
  • Latest News
  • Right Now
  • Weather
  • Earthquakes
  • First News
Read More
thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Read More

Racism in America

Learning Media: Racism in America

CONFRONTING ANTI-BLACK RACISM Use these materials with middle and high school students to help them understand the long history of anti-Black racism in the United States, and think about ways to address it in their own families and communities. Resources include news coverage of recent protests,…

Lawsuit Against County Sheriff's Office Points to Numerous Brutality Cases

We provide local news updates on The North Bay Report Tuesday-Friday at 6:45, 8:45 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. on KRCB radio 91 and 90.9. The following is a two-part interview that aired Thursday, July, 2nd and Wednesday, July 8. The full-length interview is also available below. Subscribe to The North Bay…
sheriff badge

Hope, Strength, Protest. Another Story in Photos

Photos and Text by Diane Askew On Thursday, July 2, a daylong rally was held at Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square to protest systemic racism. The protest was organized by president Rubin Scott of the Sonoma County chapter of the NAACP. From a small stage set up on the square, local residents spoke…
lady shirt

Informe en Español: KBBF Hosts Special On Black Lives Matter Movement

This article is a translated, partial summary of KBBF’s 30-minute special. Listen to the complete version in Spanish below. In this thirty-minute special, KBBF’s Edgar Avila speaks with Sonoma County residents about racism in our community and the Black Lives Matter movement. Guests appear in the…
IMG 2806

Could Racially Motivated 911 Calls Become Hate Crimes?

By Elizabeth Castillo, CalMatters Barbecuing at Lake Merritt in Oakland. Selling water without a permit. Both instances in which a Black person was doing something deemed criminal by a white person. Both instances in which a white person called the police. Now, as racial tensions continue to flare…
Screen Shot 2020 06 26 at 10.39.41 AM

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.