Protesters hold ‘die-in’ at Fayette Mall, call for LPD chaplain’s firing

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – For the second week in a row, people protesting police brutality held a ‘die in’ at Lexington’s Fayette Mall.

The group laid on the mall floor for 8-minutes and 46-seconds in honor of George Floyd.  The protesters then walked through the mall chanting.

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The protesters also once again called for the firing of Lexington Police Chaplain Donovan Stewart.  Cell phone video from 2019 reportedly shows Stewart punching an autistic teenager during the teen’s arrest at the mall.  Investigators say the teenager was with friends and that the group was being disorderly in the mall.

Protesters say this week, they passed out more than 300 brochures detailing their demands.

“It really lifts our spirits to see people receiving our message well because a lot of people don’t,” says protester Tiffany Cooper.  “I think with us being out here, it just shows our community that we’re not going to standby and let this happen.”

Lexington Police say they can’t take any action as part of an internal investigation of the Donovan Stewart incident last year until all the lawsuits associated with it are resolved.  Protesters say the police department’s claim simply isn’t true.

The protesters are asking the following changes in mall security and the Lexington Police Department:

– End racial profiling of mall patrons
– End moonlighting of LPD officers as mall security
– If LPD officers are actively engaged in responding to alleged criminal activity at the mall, they must be required to wear a body camera and have it turned on
– Donovan Stewart never be allowed to work mall security again

For a detailed look at all changes protesters say need to be made in the current Lexington Police collective bargaining agreement with the city and the call for greater police accountability, click here.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.