LFUCG council meeting hijacked by callers yelling racial slurs

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 10:01 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2020 at 12:04 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A special committee meeting of Lexington Fayette Urban County council members over Zoom Wednesday evening was meant to be an open forum where the public could talk about concerns of systematic racism and policies within the police department.

Instead, it was hijacked by callers yelling racial slurs and cursing turning it into a prime example of the racism in our community that some protesters have been talking about.

“It illustrates perfectly that racism in America is alive and well,” one caller said.

“As offensive as these comments are, I think there are a lot of our community members who hear them more often than we do,” Council Member Mark Swanson said. “I think it’s a painful lesson for those of us who look like me on the council.”

So much so, that council members stopped for about 20 minutes to talk about ending the meeting for fear it was doing more harm than good. But ultimately they decided that this painful lesson was one worth learning.

Vice Mayor Steve Kay told our news partners at the Herald-Leader that there was no way to screen calls before they came in. They also report that the calls had similar voices and were muted as soon as they were recognized.

“This is exactly what the community has been talking about,” Council Member Angela Evans said. “And, quite honestly, some of those voices sounded like children or younger people which means they’ve got parents who think this is okay.”

Those comments nearly drowned out the whole purpose of the meeting which was to hear constructive criticism on whether or not, and how much or how little, police reform is needed in Lexington.

“These comments are horrible, but I think we do need to hear them,” one caller said. “I’m glad we are continuing this conversation so we have no illusions about what kind of country and state and city we live in.”

The legitimate comments made Wednesday night were fairly split. Some praised the police department for explaining certain policies and serving the community, while others called for defunding and a total restructuring of the Lexington Police Department.

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