HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Coleman Sees Growing Anger Among Young Protesters Of
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 2004
Source: Courier-Journal, The (KY)
Copyright: 2004 The Courier-Journal
Author: Jessie Halladay


A leader of the Thursday night march in Louisville that escalated into a 
melee between police and about 60 protesters says he hopes future 
demonstrations will be calm, but he can't promise that anger building 
within some younger residents will remain contained.

The Rev. Louis Coleman, head of the Justice Resource Center and a protest 
organizer, has engaged in peaceful protest for decades. But he warned that 
anger will continue to escalate until the Louisville Metro Police 
Department holds officers accountable for deadly shootings.

Police "need to expect that kind of response," Coleman said of the 
confrontation following the march protesting the death of 19-year-old 
Michael Newby. Newby was shot three times in the back last Saturday by 
Officer McKenzie Mattingly during what police say was an undercover drug buy.

Thursday's protest by about 400 people broke up just after 6 p.m., but 
about 60 people, most of them in their teens and 20s, remained in the 
street blocking traffic at Seventh and Jefferson streets and in front of 
police headquarters on Seventh.

At one point, people tried to enter police headquarters, demanding to speak 
to Chief Robert White, and three of his office windows were broken out.

The protest continued to escalate until about 70 officers ordered the crowd 
to disperse and used horse-mounted police to push the crowd back.

Three adults and one juvenile were arrested. All four were white.

Some activists said they believed that police avoided arresting African 
Americans to keep things from becoming more violent.

"They made a selection of who they were going to take," said Mattie Jones, 
a veteran civil-rights activist who was at the protest.

Helene Kramer, a police spokeswoman, said yesterday that "no one was 
arrested based upon their color."

At a news conference yesterday, White said officers arrested only white 
demonstrators because "they were the ones who actually violated the law."

The younger, smaller group of protesters represented many types of people 
who have reached the boiling point, said Coleman and others who attended 
Thursday's march.

"People were motivated by different reasons and they all behaved 
differently," said the Rev. Alvin Herring, minister at New Covenant AME 
Church, who also works with students at the University of Louisville.

Herring said he saw University of Louisville students, several young people 
who identify themselves anarchists and others who knew Newby or lived in 
his neighborhood.

Mike Duncan, 18, calls himself an anarchist and said he and several others 
in his unnamed network marched Thursday.

"We feel like the government in this town, and pretty much in the country, 
has been oppressing people of color in this town for too long," Duncan said.

Kela Brasher, 29, who lives near the area where Newby was killed, was among 
the protesters who lingered after the peaceful part of the demonstration. 
She said that part of what caused the protest to escalate was anger over 
White watching the protest unfold from behind the blinds in his office.

"We got offended by that," said Brasher, who said she believed the chief 
was "smirking" at the crowd. "We felt like that was a slap in the face." 
Kramer said she was with the chief throughout the evening and never saw him 
smiling over the situation.

"He was concerned," Kramer said. "He was monitoring the situation. He 
wanted to go out and talk with the young people. He was trying to figure 
out whether it would do more harm than good."

WHITE DID come out as some people were being arrested. He met with Coleman 
and agreed - at the request of the young people in the group - to sit down 
and talk with them at the Justice Resource Center. White spent at least two 
hours answering questions and listening to the group's concerns. Reporters 
were not allowed in.

Herring commended White yesterday, saying his handling of the protest and 
his willingness to meet with the young people showed him to be a "real 
first-class leader."

Though the meeting may not have revealed much new information, Herring said 
it sent a signal to younger protesters that White is willing to engage in 
difficult conversation.

Coleman gave the younger protesters credit for getting White to the table 
for discussion.

White described the conversation as "fruitful"; Coleman called it "fiery."

The young people "vented their frustrations," Coleman said. "They were very 
honest with the chief."

Coleman said he believes Thursday night was just the start of what promises 
to be a heated debate that includes more young people than ever before.

"These young people are less tolerant than we are," Coleman said referring 
to the more veteran activists.

Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson and White held a news conference yesterday to 
warn that more violence would not be tolerated.

"We will have zero tolerance for that type of activity," Abramson said.

White said police intelligence officers are working to determine if those 
who caused problems were tied to any specific group.

"We're going to try to reach out, address their issues and at the same time 
reiterate the fact that (while) we want you to exercise your right to 
demonstrate, we want you to respect the rights of property of individuals," 
White said.

Abramson said he hopes that a new, more violent group isn't stepping 
forward to lead the demonstrations.

"ONLY TIME will tell" if the demonstrations continue to be violent, 
Abramson said. "We're certainly hopeful that is not the case."

At a forum sponsored last night by the Nation of Islam, both Minister 
Jerald Muhammad and UofL professor Ricky Jones called on people to consider 
a more proactive approach than protests to bringing about a change.

"Strategies that have been used thus far have not worked," Jones said. 
Jones called on religious, civil-rights, educational, business and 
political leaders to unite in a plan for sweeping change in Louisville that 
would give more power to black people.

Jones and Muhammad also denounced characterizations that Thursday's event 
was a riot.

Thursday night "was just a few people who got mad," Jones said.

Phillip Bailey, a 19-year-old University of Louisville student, said he 
believes Thursday's event sends a message to city government that young 
people cannot be ignored and are paying attention to what's happening.

He said he believes so many young people turned out Thursday because Newby 
"was a young person, and the way he was shot really resonated with a lot of 
young people."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens