For Kentucky Public Radio
Published WED NOVEMBER 26, 2014
By RAE HODGE
More than 400 protesters in downtown Louisville on Tuesday stood in solidarity with protests erupting in cities across the U.S. following a grand jury’s decision to not indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown, who was 18 and African-American.
Louisville demonstrators marched through downtown for over three hours, calling for a national report on police violence, body cameras for officers, a civilian police oversight board and other measures.
Eddie Cabanas, of Louisville, is an Iraq veteran who says he fears for the safety of his two sons, both are young children of color.
“I treated people like this in Iraq because I had to,” he said.
“I had to do this so I could live—not so I could die. And they’re doing this here to us and they’re killing us. Literally, they’re killing us. And that’s happening here. So I went to die for my country, supposedly, even though it was a job, and now they’re killing my people. they’re killing everybody that looks like me, so I don’t like that and I’m gonna fight.”
Robert Bell is a lecturer in English at the University of Louisville. When asked about solutions to the large changes called for by the crowd, he emphasized the small measures that can be taken by individuals.
“It’s going to require a lot of soul searching on the part of individuals. and, you know, that’s why one of the most important things that can happen is this Thanksgiving people need to take this conversation to their Thanksgiving tables with their family members—white, black family members,” Bell said.
The protesters blocked traffic temporarily at several downtown Louisville intersections, but were dispersed by police officers within minutes.
As the protest happened, Mayor Greg Fischer and city officials held a “community dialogue” at the Urban League’s offices. There, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad expressed support for body cameras for officers and said LMPD has a citizen’s commission.
The protests come a day after a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of Michael Brown.