Dozens of Louisville officers walk out on mayor

Dozens of officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department walked out on the city’s Mayor Greg Fischer (D) on Wednesday as he tried to address them.

Video obtained by the Courier-Journal showed the Louisville, Ky., mayor standing in the middle of a room as officers and detectives walked out without a word.

The move comes as tensions have risen between the mayor's office and the police department following the death of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed black woman who was shot and killed by officers in her Louisville apartment on March 13.

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Fraternal Order of Police President Ryan Nichols, who was not in attendance, said the walkout was not planned but illustrated the frustration police are feeling with Fischer as they have been responding to protests in the city since last week, according to the newspaper. 

"They feel completely unsupported and disrespected by this administration," Nichols said, according to the newspaper. "They feel whatever he was going to say would have been nothing more than lip service, and he does not care about them at all." 

The order’s president said many officers feel Fischer’s response has been “directed and focused against police.”

The protests in Louisville come as demonstrations have swept the nation following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

Louisville police said they have used pepper bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters, who they said have employed bricks, fireworks, leaf blowers, Molotov cocktails, shields and jars against officers.

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The department is also facing scrutiny following the shooting death of David McAtee, a 53-year-old restaurant owner who was killed early Monday as law enforcement was responding to the protests across the city. 

Fischer requested a “comprehensive, top-to-bottom” independent review of the police department following the Taylor and McAtee deaths, sparking condemnation from the city’s officers.

The mayor addressed the walkout in a statement obtained by The Hill saying the officers are “putting in long hours” and “suffering insults and assaults from people they are working to protect.’ ” 

“They are frustrated, and some of them expressed that frustration today,” Fischer said. “I absolutely respect that. That doesn’t change my appreciation of the work they are doing, as I’ve expressed time and again.”

“I hope our residents will embrace our police officers as guardians — I know that’s how the vast, vast majority view their role,” he added.