AP featured image
A protester using a bullhorn yells at city workers who had been installing cement and wood barricades, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle. The city put the barriers in place Tuesday in hopes of defining an area where emergency, delivery, and other vehicles can travel through the area while still preserving space for protesters, who have been there since police pulled back from near the department’s East Precinct after recent clashes with people protesting the death of George Floyd, but some protesters Tuesday were unhappy that the barricades were being installed. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Protesters had set up something of a mini “autonomous zone” Louisville, Kentucky earlier in the month, with a bunch of tents set up in Jefferson Square Park to protest over the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor. It hadn’t gotten as much attention as the one in Seattle.

The mayor had allowed it as long as they remained “peaceful.” There were prior problems and arrests associated with “protesters” in the area.

But last night someone opened fire on people in the park in a shocking video. One person was killed, another was injured.

Immediately, folks on the left were claiming that it was a “white supremacist” who had fired on the group, not waiting for the facts.

But turns out police allege it was another protester. Police said that the shooter had been wounded in the incident and was in custody at the hospital.

From Fox News:

“The man had been participating in the protest since they began and had been arrested a couple of times over the past several weeks. He had been repeatedly asked by other members in the park to leave due to his disruptive behavior,” Louisville Assistant Chief of Police Robert Schroeder said. “In addition to this man, multiple other people in the park were armed at the time of the incident, and our homicide investigators are still working to identify all of the parties who may have fired during the incident.”

While police didn’t identify him, protesters on the ground said he was a homeless man named Steven Lopez who had been arrested with protesters in a prior incident. The Courier-Journal just identified him and they have a picture of him from his prior arrest. They charged him with Gerth’s death, they did not charge him as to the other person wounded. The Courier Journal said he had an altercation with another protester earlier in the day and they don’t believe that he was targeting Gerth.

One man, Tyler Gerth, 27, was killed in the park and a woman victim was hit across the street at the Hall of Justice. That person is expected to survive.

Now the city has decided to clear away the tents and the autonomous zone as a matter of safety and they’ve forbidden any more tents or protests camping out at night.

“It’s a safety issue at this point. Over the past several nights we’ve seen increasingly dangerous behavior. We’ve seen several fistfights. We’ve also seen an increasing number of weapons that gave us concern, but all that led up to last night’s activity and last night’s shooting,” Hess said. “But yet, we wanted to balance the First Amendment exercise of free speech, the need to come together, while at the same time understanding that ordinances were in place for a reason, and it was particularly to help protect public safety.”

Too bad they didn’t stop it sooner. Again, just like with CHOP, they had the warning signs that they ignored.

Had the mayor had the fortitude to shut it down, this might have been avoided. But as with CHOP, weak Democratic leadership just refused to act to protect people, including the protesters.