Faith leaders, activists call for several changes in Lexington

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – “It’s time for a change in Lexington.”

It’s becoming a regular refrain as they keep up the pressure. Faith leaders came together at First Baptist Church Bracktown Thursday morning.

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“Today we call on Mayor Gorton and the city council to do what should have been done a long time ago,” Dr. C.B. Akins, Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church Bracktown said.

Mayor Linda Gorton has a limited ban on no knock warrants. It’s a moratorium. The legislature just approved a limited ban with only a few exemptions.

Akins says it’s not enough. He and other leaders have a tougher proposal they want acted in Lexington.

The group also wants charges dropped against protestors arrested last summer.

“These protests were instrumental to the initiation of equity and justice conversations in our community,” Akins said.

Another topic discussed: police transparency and accountability.

The group argues the difference in the handling of Black officer Jervis Middleton and white officer Donovan Stewart are examples. Middleton was fired after being found guilty of repeat policy violations. Stewart was allowed to retire after being accused of punching an autistic teen. Even with differences in the cases, they say it is a stark contrast.

“These further speaks to the necessity of a civilian review board for adequate police accountability,” Akins said.

Akins also mentioned the recent case involving Liam Long, a Black autistic teen who police say was hit by an officer’s cruiser while running from them.

Downtown in Lexington, protestors again walked to the police station demanding answers.

“Is there a reason you all are not complying with the recommendations from the mayor’s Commission on Racial Justice’s subcommittee to make this process separate from the Lexington Police Department,” Activist April Taylor asked a police officer outside of the downtown station.

They want access to a form that’ll let them make a formal complaint, but police explain officers have to submit the complaint themselves and can copy their exact words.

“Why would anybody in their right minds want the Lexington Police Department, the very entity that you are filing the complaint against, to be the one who is transcribing your words as part of a legal document,” Taylor asked.

Taylor said Long’s family hasn’t decided whether they will file a formal complaint, but having access to the form is important, now, and in the future.