LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mayor Greg Fischer (D), along with members of the Louisville Metro Police Department, provided an update on safety plans ahead of the 146th Kentucky Derby this weekend. While the stands at Churchill Downs will remain empty, protests are planned for outside the track and surrounding areas.
What You Need To Know
- Fischer, LMPD provide update on safety plans for Derby, protests
- LMPD, KSP, and Kentucky National Guard to be present at Derby to help with traffic control, any unlawful protests
- Only road closure is Central Avenue between 3rd Street and Taylor Boulevard
- Officers will also be downtown, along Baxter Avenue
Fischer said that while it remains unclear how many protesters will be present, LMPD has plans in place, and any violence or unlawfulness will not be allowed. Anyone blocking traffic, creating dangerous conditions on roadways, trespassing, or vandalizing will be arrested, Fischer said.
"Racial justice is a goal that we all support, and we support first amendment rights, we just have to balance the right to protest with our essential duty to preserve public safety," said Fischer.
Lt. Col. Andy McClinton spoke at the briefing, saying LMPD officers will be present at the protests to address any traffic issues or unlawful protests. Officers will also be placed downtown along Broadway and Baxter Avenue to monitor Derby celebrations and protests.
Like years past, the Kentucky State Police and Kentucky National Guard will be at the protests and in surrounding areas to help with traffic control and any unlawful protests.
McClinton said officers will try to funnel protesters with opposing viewpoints into separate areas to avoid confrontation. He also said there are plans in place to maintain safety at Cox's Park where several groups plan to protest.
Lt. Arnold Rivera provided an update on traffic this weekend. The only road that will be closed is Central Avenue from 3rd Street to Taylor Boulevard while Oakdale Avenue will be limited to local access. Road closures and restrictions will begin at 8 a.m. Friday.
Due to a lack of fans, LMPD expects less traffic disruptions.