UPDATE: Man involved in fight during protest says he was fired from job


UPDATE June 8, 2020 2 p.m.:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Jason Ritter, the Uber passenger involved in a punch-throwing incident Saturday night at the intersection of East Maxwell and South Limestone streets, says he’s been fired from his job.

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Ritter told The Lexington Herald-Leader Harbour Freight terminated him Monday because of his involvement in the fight. The Uber driver and witnesses claimed Ritter got out of the Uber car and threw the first punch, but he denied that allegation to the newspaper.

In its statement provided to WTVQ ABC 36 News by Corporate Communications Director Craig Hoffman, the company said, “Harbor Freight condemns this individual’s actions and finds his behavior and statements offensive. This conduct does not represent our views at Harbor Freight, where diversity is one of our core values, and we have taken appropriate action regarding this individual”Harbor Freight condemns this individual’s actions and finds his behavior and statements offensive. This conduct does not represent our views at Harbor Freight, where diversity is one of our core values, and we have taken appropriate action with regards to his employment.”

Ritter also said has hired an attorney to take legal action against Harbour Freight, for wrongful termination, and may take action against those he  claims have slandered him for his involvement in the incident, according to the Herald-Leader article.

Witnesses said Ritter got out of the Uber car and confronted protesters as they walked through the intersection, delaying the Uber car Ritter was in. The issue is made even more sensitive because Ritter is white and the protester at home he appears to throw a punch on video of the incident is black.

Other protesters separated the two before the confrontation started again briefly.

(See the video below)

Ritter told the newspaper one of the protesters threatened him through an open window in the Uber car and he felt like he had no choice but to respond, according to the Herald-Leader.

UPDATE 6/7/20 3:00 p.m.:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Witnesses say protesters were defending themselves Saturday night when a fight broke out near Tin Roof on East Maxwell and South Limestone Streets during an otherwise peaceful protest.

A man who recorded the fight, Dean Crockett, sent ABC 36 video.

“In the first second of the video, the white bald assailant has already exited his car and approaches the black teenager with red hair, pulling back his right arm and striking at him. The red haired teenager ducks back and pulls his right arm back for retaliation, but the man appears to engage another protestor and be tackled to the ground, out of view. The protestors then appear to kick the man on the ground. The camera pans to a teenager on the ground that was allegedly punched in the left eye by the bald man,” Crockett said, describing the video.

Lexington Police said Sunday they are investigating and there is no update.

One of several protest organizers, April Taylor, wrote online Sunday saying the man in the Uber jumped out during a peaceful protest and swung at protesters. She added the hashtag #SelfDefenseIsNotViolence.

If you were at the protest and have video or information you want to share about the fight, you can send it to news36@wtvq.com

6/6/20 11:45 p.m.:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- A man was assaulted Saturday night during racial justice protests in Lexington.

According to Lexington Police, around 10:30 p.m., a couple was in an Uber car on Limestone trying to get to their destination.

Someone approached the car and was blocking it so the male passenger got out of the car and confronted that person.

The two had words and punches were thrown, leaving the man who got out of the car with a bloodied face.

The couple was able to get away and call police. Officers weren’t sure who the other person involved is or where they went.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!