Under Attack: Kentucky FOP says police officers were ordered to remove protective equipment during protests


Louisville, Kentucky – According to a post by the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police, it seems as though Louisville Metro Police officers were ordered to remove protective equipment “up to and including ballistic-rated helmets” when having to engage an “unruly crowd” on June 28th.

Apparently, if officers refused the order to remove their protective equipment, they could have faced suspension.

In the Kentucy FOP post that was drafted by the organization’s president, Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue, it detailed the events that led up to the order delivered on June 28th:

“After the tragic loss of life and the injuries from the shooting in Jefferson Square Park, Louisville Metro Police Officers were directed to prevent more encampments and other unlawful behavior that would lead to additional dangerous conditions.”

The incident that was referenced pertained to the gunman that was captured on video earlier in June who was indiscriminately firing upon a crowd of demonstrators who had gathered in regard to the death of Breonna Taylor.

According to the post, local officials had mandated that there would be no overnight encampments allowed within Jefferson Square Park for safety-related concerns.

Officers from the LMPD were said to have been established around the area of the park to ensure there were no unlawful encampments taking place. While officers were placed “on standby” on the 28th, the post stated that individuals “armed with long rifles and scopes” were discovered as being staged in parking garages surrounding the area who were subsequently removed.

The Kentucky FOP post continued, stating the following:

“Last night, officers were commanded (under threat of immediate suspension) to remove protective equipment, up to and including ballistic-rated helmets and approach an unruly crowd with a “soft-approach.” This order came after individuals with long guns were encountered in elevated positions.”

This order was delivered despite the fact that police officers from the LMPD have been subject to assaults, having projectiles thrown at them, and have even been shot at within the past month during various protests and riots.

Sheriff Perdue noted that while de-escalation techniques and outcomes are always the preferred route within law enforcement encounters, he also acknowledged that not every police encounter is an amicable one.

The sheriff is well aware that this request was merely an effort to generate good press, so to speak, but that pleasant image isn’t worth the risk of an officer getting injured or losing their life:

“Protective equipment has been designed and utilized over the years by law enforcement across the country, safeguarding the men and women we send into harm’s way. Asking our officers to remove their protective equipment for the sake of public image is absolutely shameful and unsafe!”

From the perspective of the Clark County Sheriff, he feels as though this delivered order was another example of failed leadership:

“The men and women of the Louisville Metro Police Department have yet again been failed by faulty leadership. I commend the brave brothers and sisters who stood up to this foolish order and I have their back.”

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

The post continued with the sentiment that as a law enforcement official, Sheriff Perdue would never consider asking his deputies to perform such a careless display for the sake of appeasing those who feel protective equipment can appear intimidating:

“As a Sheriff, I will always be on the front lines with my deputies. I would never ask them to do something I would not be willing to do myself. Nor would I ask them to walk into a potentially violent situation without protective equipment they have at their disposal.”

Sheriff Perdue concluded the posting, expressing that his duties are composed of protecting the public and his deputies. In his perspective, he feels as though “some LMPD Commanders have abandoned this concept.”

Considering that ranking police officers would even consider delivering said order, Sheriff Perdue may very well be right with that aforementioned sentiment.

Law Enforcement Today recently reported on the shooting that took place in Louisville referenced by Sheriff Perdue earlier. Here’s the details on that investigation. 

Police say that a gunman opened fire into a crowd of demonstrators on the evening of June 27th, where protesters were said to have gathered with regard to the death of Breonna Taylor. Reports indicate that one man died at the scene of the gunfire in downtown Louisville.

Authorities say that the shooting took place at Jefferson Square Park at around 9:00 p.m. on the evening of the 27th. Personnel from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department were said to have responded and were performing life-saving measures to a male who was struck from the gunfire, but the victim later died reportedly.

Police were also later alerted to another victim who was across the street from where the incident took place, who was said to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Video captured during the protest seems to show the shooter right before he begins firing indiscriminately into a crowd.

(Warning, the footage may be disturbing to some viewers)

Police were said to have cleared the park after the chaos that transpired, but have not released any information yet as to whether or not they’ve identified a suspect in the shooting.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer expressed his distraught sentiments regarding what was nothing more than a peaceful gathering of demonstrators at the park who’d then become the target of a shooting:

“I am deeply saddened by the violence that erupted in Jefferson Square Park tonight, where those who have been voicing their concerns have been gathered. It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene.”

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, please follow Law Enforcement Today to receive updates on this story. 

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