© 2024 WUKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Heading Into Night Eight Of Protests: Lexington's Police Chief Discusses Moving Toward Change

Karyn Czar

Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said when he sees footage of deaths during attempted arrests like George Floyd’s he can’t comprehend how certain procedures were ever allowed to happen. “I’m just dumbfounded at how you get to that. You know I remember going through training back in the 90’s specifically telling us these are things you don’t do and then I look at some of these incidents that happen and I see police doing this and I’m like we learned not to do that back in the 90’s. Where are you coming from?”

Weathers said he understands the daily demonstrations and another will be held tonight. It would have been Breonna Taylor’s Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday. Taylor was the Louisville EMT killed by police when they entered her home on a no-knock warrant. Protestors and civic leaders want them eliminated. Chief Weathers said the department hasn’t needed to use one in at least a year and they are rare. As far as eliminating them completely, he said there are rare life and death situations when you need one. “We only use no knocks right now if there is an imminent threat to life. You know what I’m saying? And I’ll give you an example. If you had to go in and get somebody and you knew hey this person had been shooting, I’ll take Las Vegas and you’ve got somebody perched up high. If they had stopped shooting and you didn’t know which room they went to and all of a sudden found out what room they want to. That’s not a situation where you want to knock.”

Demonstrators are also calling for more oversight in the department. The collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police expires of June 30th and they want to see changes before it rolls over at the end of the month. “You know those are things that we’ve got to talk about and we’ve got to discuss and we’re not opposed to doing that. So the probability for real change off of those demands and requests is probably pretty high. But like I say there’s going to have to be some compromise in there because you’re not just dealing with one side you’re dealing with several.”

And on a whole, where Lexington’s protests have looked far different from other cities is that with the exception of a few instances, there had been peace for seven straight nights between police and demonstrators. “A lot of protestors really came to talk and really came to discuss what their issues are with us and we’ve got to be prepared to listen. And then actually some of them are listening to some of the issues that police have. And I’ll tell you right off the bat. When we some of these things happening across the country we don’t have a forum where we can get out there and say this is unacceptable to us.”

Protestors have been gathering nightly outside Lexington’s courthouses and begin marching through the streets at 8:00. Weathers said he anticipates more open dialogue to take place on the sidewalk in front of the Lexington Police Department.