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Lexington's Mayor To Demonstrators "We Hear You"

Karyn Czar

Peaceful protests over the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police in Minnesota and Louisville continued in Lexington. The city’s mayor says demonstrators’ voices are being heard and changes are to come. Members of the African American community who led the protest on Monday said they are hopeful but tired of "nothing but talk."

On Sunday night, Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers was lined up with dozens of officers in full riot gear outside the Government Center. Protesters officers to march the streets alongside them. They weren’t supposed to break rank. Chief Lawrence Weathers said he was standing next to Lt. Samantha Moore when the crowd asked them to kneel with them. That’s when Chief Weathers decided to lead by example. “And I looked at Lt. Moore and she looked at me and she said are we going to kneel? And I said are we? And she said I don’t know, you’re the chief. So I knelt and then she knelt and I looked down and saw the line. And I got up and as a chief it’s my job to let the officers know what’s appropriate and what’s not and I went down the line and I told them if you want to kneel, kneel. It’s your choice.”

Not only did they kneel on Sunday, on Monday night they broke ranks and marched alongside protestors, weaving their way from Triangle Park through downtown. Organizer April Taylor told LEX-18 that they have a list of demands to improve racial inequity in the city. “I think it’s great that people are spontaneously protesting but I don’t think it’s great that people are allowing themselves to be placated by shows from the police force that they’re compliant in some way with what the crowd demands. We have real demands like the collective bargaining agreement.”

Monday afternoon Mayor Linda Gorton announced she was organizing a group to recommend changes in how “we go forward here in Lexington. This group will include citizens, representatives of our faith community, representatives of our courts, urban county council members and others. We want to learn from other cities and from our own citizens and this is a wonderful opportunity for us. It’s our moment to make change happen going forward.”

Gorton said she would have the team assembled within the next few weeks.