Counterprotesters that include "armed patriot groups" may come to downtown Louisville Saturday, according to social media posts and a Facebook event acknowledged by police.
The posts suggest a counterprotest to the ongoing racial justice demonstrations in Jefferson Square Park over the Breonna Taylor shooting.
Screenshots of Facebook posts that were shared with The Courier Journal show users discussing the protesters who have set up tents and camped out in the park over the past few weeks to raise awareness about the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
"They have til the 27th to have their fun," one poster said. "On the 27th we will have ours."
"The tents need to be destroyed," another said.
Saturday rolled around, and Black Lives Matter protesters remained peaceful, but ready.
Hundreds of anti-racist protesters lined a downtown Louisville block on Saturday morning, prepared for a confrontation that didn't come.
Assembled at Jefferson Square Park, the crowd — comprised of young and old, Black and white, and some people with guns — expected to face off against an armed "patriot militia," which earlier in the week said it would descend on Louisville in the morning to confront those protesting in the wake of Breonna Taylor's death.
But by mid-afternoon, no members of the "American Freedom Fighters," who organize themselves using a private Facebook group, had turned up near the downtown park.
Later in the day, a LMPD spokesperson confirmed that there was a smaller gathering of about 30 people in Thurman Hutchins Park for a few hours midday, but that group dispersed and never came downtown.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the matter. At least one armed individual did show up later Saturday evening, and at least one person is dead as a result as the gunman fired several shots.
Two people were shot, one fatally, in downtown Louisville Saturday evening, according to police.
According to police, around 9 p.m., shots were fired in Jefferson Square Park. Personnel from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department performed live-saving measures on a male victim who eventually died.
Shortly thereafter, police received reports of another person shot at the Hall of Justice. That person was taken to University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
"Officers cleared the park completely and have secured the entire area so homicide detectives can conduct their investigation," LMPD spokesman Lamont Washington wrote Saturday evening at 11:27 p.m. "Detectives are trying to gather as much information as possible in order to identify all who were involved in the incident."
Washington added that the park will remain closed for the next several hours, and that police will provide additional information in the morning as it becomes available.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement Saturday evening that he is "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," Fischer said. "My thanks to the first responders who assisted at the scene. I will have more to say tomorrow, as additional information becomes available."
We'll see what LMPD and Mayor Fischer have to say this morning, but right now I am furious. Yes, this could have had nothing to do with the protests, it could have been an altercation or any number of things.
But in my mind, this is clearly somebody who saw the news reports about the right-wing counter-protesters who didn't show at Jefferson Park during the day on Saturday and then went to the park to hurt or kill people on purpose, and at least one person is now dead as a result.
This was a terrorist attack. And you can bet there are a hell of a lot of people in this state and around the country who are cheering this on, and are even hoping that the LMPD never catch the person who did this.
And no, I don't really expect the LMPD to make arrests. After all, they've had a murder suspect known for three months now and haven't lifted a finger against Breonna Taylor's killers other than to fire the guy, and even then he'll just get hired somewhere else.
I've learned years ago not to expect justice when it comes to Black America being targeted by racists, by police, and by racist police. Not since the Rodney King verdict happened when I was in high school, and that was more than 25 years ago.
Black Lives Still Matter.