Police in Louisville, Kentucky walked out amid a flurry of boos during a speech from Mayor Greg Fischer on Wednesday. The Fraternal Order of Police President Ryan Nichols told WHAS11 that the walkout had not been planned in advance, but did say he felt it was due to the officers feeling "unsupported and disrespected" by the mayor after the firing of police chief Steve Conrad in the wake of Breonna Taylor's death back in March.
Fischer had attended a police roll-call on Wednesday ahead of a 12-hour shift. As he approaches the podium to speak, several cops can be heard booing him. "They don't want to hear nothing you have to say Mr. Mayor," a voice can be heard saying. "They all got up and left. Good for them." They also referred to the walkout as a "proud moment" for the police force.
Fischer addressed the walkout in a statement, saying that the cops are "putting in long hours," and respected their actions. "They are suffering insults and assaults from people they are working to protect. They are worried for their families and this city. They are frustrated, and some of them expressed that frustration today. I absolutely respect that. That doesn't change my appreciation of the work they are doing, as I've expressed time and again. They have a very difficult job. I hope our residents will embrace our police officers as guardians," adding that he believes "that's how the vast, vast majority view their role."
As protests continue in cities across the U.S., sparked by the death of 46-year-old Minneapolis man George Floyd while in police custody on May 25, tensions have been especially high in Lousiville. Back in March, Taylor was at least eight times by police after three officers entered her Kentucky home by force in order to serve a search warrant in a narcotics investigation. While the department stated that the officers only returned gunfire when Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, started shooting, their address wasn't the one on the search warrant.
However, as a result of her death, Louisville's mayor said that no-knock warrants were being suspended as part of numerous policy changes that are being enacted. In addition to Taylor's death, David McAtee, a local chef who often fed police for free, was killed during the protests. Prior to the shooting, the officer involved, Katie Crews, had made derogatory statements on Facebook regarding the protesters.