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NAACP letter strikes a nerve; Police Chief responds to accusations

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 19:47:12-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Board members of Lexington's NAACP branch are frustrated by specific actions they claim have been taken by the police department, and they put their concerns on paper.

In an email sent to Mayor Linda Gorton, and the Fraternal Order of Police, the group makes several accusations regarding police behavior during protests.

"The police have a YouTube channel for body cam footage, and that channel puts up edited footage of the protestors, and we believe they're trying to tell a narrative," said Shambra Mulder, a board member with the NAACP.

Along with the many other accusations levied by the group, including abuse of authority, bullying, and failure by police to wear a mask when appropriate, Chief Lawrence Weather shot down the claim about "doctoring" footage.

"The only thing we do is cut them down for time. You can't alter them for content; all you can do is cut it down for time. If you want to see the rest of it, you can access it," Weathers said while adding that the full-length videos are accessible via an open records request. Often they are posted to the department's social media pages.

Another accusation made by the NAACP alludes to a chokehold used by an officer during a recent protest, but Weather refuted that claim.

"We looked at that. There's no restriction of the airway," he said. "There's no way that looks like any type of chokehold."

Mulder admits these aren't blanket accusations of the entire police force, and she said Chief Weather is a good person.

"There's just real demands and actions that can be taken by the police and the FOP and the mayor. Right now, we're not seeing that," said Mulder. "We need to pay attention to the rhetoric coming from our leadership," she added.

Weathers said he'd welcome a meeting with any group seeking positive change because improving both his department and his city remain a top priority.

"When people are very vocal, it means we can't sit on our laurels and not act quickly," Weathers said. "Now, I would say you might not always get exactly what you want, but I think compromise is a part of life too."