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Louisville police shot and killed a man Sunday night during protests against police brutality that were sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of officers in Minneapolis last week.
The incident happened just after midnight at the intersection of 26th and Broadway to the west of the city center. Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Chief Steve Conrad claimed that shots were fired at officers before the man was killed.
Conrad told a press conference that his officers and the National Guard were called to Dino's Food Mart on South 26th Street at around 12 a.m. to help clear a large crowd that had gathered in the parking lot.
The officers were met with gunfire, Conrad said, and both the LMPD officers and National Guard troops fired back at the crowd. One man was pronounced dead at the scene. Conrad said the police were currently interviewing several people of interest and will provide an update later on Monday.
Local media outlet WLKY reported that the man who died was the owner of a local BBQ joint, confirming his identity with a family member.
It was unclear if the crowd gathered in the parking lot were taking part in the protests that once again erupted into violent clashes between police and protesters, but the shooting is likely to heighten tensions in the city. The protests at Floyd’s death come just weeks after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot and killed by LMPD officers in her home, in March.
“I think it's very, very clear that many people do not trust the police. That is an issue that we're going to have to work on and work through for a long time,” Conrad said during a press conference, according to WDRB.com.
The protests in Louisville were among many across the country as violent clashes between protesters and police in riot gear overshadowed peaceful protests against police brutality, sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who has been charged with third-degree murder in the case, was due to appear in court Monday, but his appearance has been delayed by a week, according to court documents.
The protesters, and Floyd’s family, are calling for the charges against Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder. Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on his neck while Floyd protested that he could not breathe. Floyd’s family is also calling on the prosecutor to charge three other officers who took part in the arrest, two of whom helped Chauvin to restrain Floyd.
After a weekend of protests, many of which were met with police violence, lawmakers and law enforcement officials from New York to LA imposed strict curfews and closed mass transit systems while more than a dozen states have called in the National Guard.
But the measures appeared to have little impact on Sunday night and into Monday morning.
Protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia, while three people were arrested in Oakland after shots were fired at a police station just after midnight on Monday. Protesters continued to set fire to buildings and vehicles, while hundreds more were arrested by police for obstructing streets and looting premises.
Police officers were also strongly criticized for their strong-arm responses to protesters. In Atlanta, two police officers were fired after body-camera footage showed they used excessive force against protesters.
In Salt Lake City, police officers were captured on live television shoving a man with a cane until he fell over.
Meanwhile, in New York, a police officer was captured pointing his gun at protesters. In LA, a police vehicle was captured running over one protester.
In Minneapolis, protests continued for a sixth straight night, but the situation could have been a whole lot worse: a tanker plowed straight into a crowd of thousands of protesters gathered at the 35W bridge over the Mississippi River.
A video shows the tanker driving through the crowd at around 30 miles per hour. Authorities in Minneapolis later said the driver had been arrested.
As the situation continues to escalate, U.S. President Donald Trump has been widely criticized for failing to address the nation to call for calm.
Instead, as fires burned outside the White House on Sunday night and protesters shouted abuse at the president, Trump retweeted conservative commentator Buck Sexton, who advocated using “overwhelming force” to quell the protests.
Trump also took aim at the media once again on Sunday, calling the press the “enemy of the people” and claiming journalists are “doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy.”
Trump’s continued attacks on the press, which have ramped up over the course of his presidency, appeared to embolden some police officers to stop providing the protections typically afforded members of the press covering such events.
So far, Bellingcat has recorded at least 67 incidents where journalists were attacked by law enforcement during the protests, including VICE News correspondent Michael Anthony Adams, who was forced to the ground by police while reporting on the protests in Minneapolis before being pepper-sprayed.
Cover: A protester walks with police officers during a protest over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was fatally shot by police in her home in March. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)