LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville's Public Safety Chief Amy Hess testified before Metro Council on Wednesday, admitting to some mistakes in the way she directed the Louisville Metro Police Department's (LMPD) response to the protests surrounding the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee.
What You Need To Know
- Amy Hess testifies before Metro Council
- Hess admits to mistakes in the way she directed LMPD
- Robert Schroeder does not testify
- Conversation primarily focused on first week of protests
Hess was one of two city officials subpoenaed to testify as part of Metro Council's investigation into the events surrounding Taylor's death. Interim LMPD Chief Robert Schroeder was also issued a subpoena; however, he did not testify. Schroeder was present with his attorney, who intercepted questions directed at him. Metro Council voted overwhelmingly for its attorney to compel him to testify before his retirement Oct. 1.
Hess's role as command means the police chief reports to her; she reports to the mayor.
In her opening statement, Hess remarked, "there are those within LMPD that viewed me as an interferent, versus a facilitator."
In the Wednesday meeting that spanned some five hours, Hess was joined by some of LMPD's top-ranking officers to answer the council's questions.
Much of the hours-long conversation centered on the first weekend of protests in the city. The initial demonstration happened May 28.
On why police later sought help from the National Guard in their response, Lt. Col. Josh Judah said, "We were completely overwhelmed."
He described a scene of officers surrounded by protesters, claiming those protesters were assaulting police and attacking their vehicles as the officers tried to block traffic coming over the Second Street bridge from endangering the demonstrators.
"It can't be understated, what happened on May 28 was a cataclysmic event for this city," Judah said.
Police tactics, like protocol on how to disperse the crowd, were discussed. Hess and Judah said tear gas was initially deployed to clear the way for a gunshot victim to be taken to a hospital on that first Thursday night.
Another important date, police pointed out, was June 16. This is the date in which Hess admits in hindsight, "mistakes" were made.
"If I could have the full day of June 16th over again, I'd take it," she said.
Councilman Bill Hollander asked Judah about complaints he's heard from citizens and media, that pepper balls were aimed and fired directly at them.
"The police department has been fighting and losing a battle of public perception," Judah said.