Sunday, a headline in the Louisville Courier Journal said "Detective shot man handcuffed behind back." These are the facts as reported by local press. Two uniformed Louisville Police entered the 50 year old man's home after a disturbance was reported. The man, named James Taylor, was allegedly intoxicated. They handcuffed the man. Someone said that someone had a knife. They did not frisk the man because it was unclear who had the knife, and they wanted to make sure no one else had it. The manacled man took a knife, a 3 inch pocket knife, out of his back pocket and tried to attack the police with it. He never had the knife any higher than his hips because his hands were bound behind him. After several attempts to subdue the man, one shot was fired at him by one of the officers. The man did not stop. The cops then shot him eleven more times. This volley killed him.
How sick and wrong is this? I challenge anyone to tell me how an inebriated 50 year old with both hands bound behind his back could be a sufficient threat to two able-bodied police officers to justify 12 gunshot wounds. For Pete’s sake, punch him! Hit him with your night stick. Mace or pepper spray him! Why fill him full of lead?
I went to the police station at noon today with some other activists to protest. There were about 150-200 of us. I wondered what would happen to us. Would they jail
us? It was a question rooted in curiousity, not fear. I would have gone to jail had the protest turned ugly. But it was beautiful. All in all it was a very positive
People sang, chanted, prayed, and held sign. People held hands. People shouted. The demonstration was peaceful and very uplifting. I got there a few minutes late because I was waiting for a friend. I was handed a sign by someone that read “LPD Shooting Range.” There was a target printed on the sign of a black figure with twelve bullet holes in it. Others held signs saying "Am I next?" The Rev. Louis Coleman led the group in prayer, and then others led chants. Dick Gregory came and said a few words. He said that this was not a protest against all cops -- just some bad ones. This was a protest to demand justice, others said. Then the leaders of the demonstration attempted to move into the Police Headquarters to hold a prayer in the lobby. They were restrained from doing so by uniformed officers. The group of leaders broke into song -- Ain’t Nobody Gonna Turn Me Around -- and after a few minutes of trying to get in, the leadership stopped and began praying. Then the people moved into 7th Street and blocked traffic. More songs were sung, and the leaders led us in more prayers. For about 15 minutes or so we prayed and listened to speeches in the street. I fully expected the cops to disperse us, but they did not. In a way, I was proud to be an American at that moment, protesting police brutality, unsure if I was going to be receiving some, and then not having any trouble at all.
At 4:30 today there will be a demonstration in front of the Mayor Armstrong’s office. I won’t make that one, but I will be there tomorrow for the next lunchtime protest. Fred Shuttlesworth, who along with Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a major figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s here in the United States, will speak at tomorrow's protest.