“Public safety must come first”-Louisville mayor on “scary” protests

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ)- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder held a later than usual press conference Monday night after protests turned violent in Louisville in ways they haven’t since they started about three weeks ago.

At 10:30 p.m., through an online meeting, Fischer thanked protesters who helped work toward peace, but said there were challenges Monday that included protesters blocking interstate ramps, surrounding cars, and throwing a brick into the windshield of a television station’s news car.

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Fischer called the situations “unsafe” and “scary”.

“Public safety must come first…we cannot have destruction and violence,” he said.

Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the day began with police encouraging protesters to stop confronting drivers near Jefferson Square Park.

According to Schroeder, protesters started using cars and people to block traffic again later Monday night at Jefferson and 6th Streets.

Police say they reached out to protesters, asking them to stop, and also placed a special response team three blocks away.

Officers say protesters saw them and moved towards them, confronting them at 8th street and continuing to move towards them when officers backed up until they confronted them again near 9th Street for about 45 minutes.

Schroeder says protesters used materials and barriers from nearby construction to block the street and the I-64 exit.

As police tried to push people back, they didn’t use tear gas, but did fire “less lethal” rounds, according to Schroeder.

He says he’s proud officers and some protesters worked together to diffuse the situation.

Louisville Metro Police warned people Monday night not to travel downtown.

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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!