LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- An Urban County Council discussion Tuesday afternoon, on renaming a Lexington park once used to sell slaves, was interrupted by racist trolls.
The council gave preliminary approval to rename Cheapside Park, but only after voting to suspend public comment when people who pretended to live in Lexington signed up to comment then shouted slurs.
One person asked why there was a “n word” on the council.
This also happened in a June 17 meeting on police discipline.
Lexington police has said it’s investigating and the city’s tech team is trying to find ways to identify callers on Zoom.
A group called Take Back Cheapside has been urging a name change for the park since 2017.
Co-founder DeBraun Thomas says the group wants it to become Henry A. Tandy Centennial park in honor of a freed slave who helped build the old courthouse across from the park and was a successful businessman who helped freed Blacks buy property.
“Renaming of the space is not going to change any of the things that happened there. It’s not going to change the good, the bad, or the ugly things that happened in that space, but it is one step closer to moving in the direction of healing and reconciliation,” Thomas said.
Take Back Cheapside also wants Fifth Third Bank to stop sponsoring the park pavilion, which it’s under contract for until 2025.
The group says the fraction in the name brings to mind the past when slaves were once recognized as three fifths of a person.
The official vote on renaming the park is expected at the end of the month.
The city also is working on possible language for an apology for any role it may have had in the slave trade. Mayor Linda Gorton said the city is researching language used by some other towns to determine what works best for Lexington.