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Justice rally held for teen with autism hit by police cruiser

LPD Protest.JPG
Posted at 9:08 PM, Apr 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-10 23:23:03-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The family of the teen who was hit by a police cruiser last week wants justice and to know the truth behind the incident that sent him to the hospital.

That was the goal behind a rally in downtown Lexington Saturday afternoon.

Kendra Long stood out in the rain surrounded by other community members, asking for answers from Lexington Police.

On March 30th, officers responded to a call about a welfare check and found Kendra’s son, 19-year-old Liam Long.

Police say Long, who has autism, was holding a knife and appeared to be having a mental health crisis. After he ran away from the area, he was hit by an officer's cruiser in the street.

Long is still in the hospital with serious injuries.

I cannot wait to show this to Liam when he heals and is able. He is still in an extremely traumatized state and has no recollection of what happened to him,” said Kendra.

In incidents like this, the group LPD Accountability wants people to be able to file a formal complaint with Lexington Police. However, community organizer April Taylor says the appropriate form is not available on the department's website.

When the group asked officers for the form during Saturday’s rally, they were told it wasn't available and were referred to the Public Comment Form online.

“The issue with that is that the maximum discipline an officer faces for an informal complaint is counseling by the chief, whereas the maximum discipline for a formal complaint is termination,” said Taylor. “We feel like that's a drastic difference and civilians need to be able to tell their stories in their own words without interference from the Lexington Police Department.”

An officer also spoke with Kendra during the rally and apparently told her that if she files a formal complaint, no additional information about the incident will be released.

The family and LPD Accountability still want the whole story behind what happened last week, though. Police released an edited body camera video of the incident Friday, but the group wants more.

“We are pressing for the release of all of the body camera footage in this case and also asking that city council ensure that the collective bargaining agreement includes requiring the release of body camera footage related to… a critical incident or a use-of-force incident, requiring that that body camera footage be released within three days,” said Taylor.

As people speak out, Kendra says she's grateful for the support and asks for prayers in her son's recovery.