Activists hung a number of banners paying tribute to Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville earlier this week. On Wednesday, the Fraternal Order of Police President, Ryan Nichols, explained that he wants the banners down.
“[Officers] felt it was, you know, kind of a slap in the face directly against them,” Ryan Nichols said, Wave 3 News reports. “Those banners, and being put up where they were and the Black Lives Matter banner that’s supporting a cause and an issue… officers had a problem with that.”
Breonna Taylor’s death sparked a number of nationwide protests. Taylor, 26, died this past March during a police raid.
Nichols says he reached out to the Louisville Mayor in addition to the Public Safety Director about removing the signage.
According to Nichols, the banners support the “Black Lives Matter” movement. He believes the signs are in violation of Louisville’s Street Banner Program Standards and Guidelines. Banners cannot “advertise individual businesses, sell merchandise products or services or to promote organizations or issues within the message.”
“I think there’s been murals done in different places, different memorials of such,” Nichols said. “The Street Banner Program is not the way to do that, and when they attach the Black Lives Matter organization to the banner it’s in direct violation with the guidelines. So, just follow the guidelines.”
Nichols continued by stating that he feels the public jumped to conclusions in regards to Taylor’s death.
“It almost feels like the city is thinking the police have done something wrong,” Nichols said. “No investigation is complete yet. The facts aren’t completely out and known and the officers feel that the police, in fact, acted within their scope of authority of the law and, in fact, did not do anything wrong.”
Fraternal Order of Police Wants Banners Gone, Here’s What the Activists Behind the Movement Say
The banners hanging in downtown Louisville came courtesy of community activists Nicole Hayden and Margaret Demaree. The pair spoke out about their intentions behind placing the signs in the city.
“We must heal with [police],” Hayden said. “So we want to let them know that we know we want justice for Breonna Taylor. But we have to live in this city as well. So, how can we start that? How can we start the healing if not here, right across from the police station and right across from a place where people have been protesting for 100 and something days?”
Moreover, Demaree called for police and the community to seek understanding.
“I think if the police, who are part of the community, and they are leaders of the community if we came together and sat down and talked about our feelings, their feelings and bring those together because we all are a melting pot, I think everybody would understand and we could come and get along,” Demaree said.
[H/T Wave 3 News]