LMPD officer who fired pepper balls at WAVE 3 News crew reassigned pending investigation

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 9:49 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Louisville Metro police have identified an officer believed to have fired pepper balls at a WAVE 3 News crew.

Sunday night, LMPD Assistant Chief Lavita Chavous said the officer, whose name has not been released, has been placed on reassignment until an investigation is complete.

“Officers do have orders not to fire pepper balls at media, but I’m sure you hopefully understand that sometimes when the media are involved inside the crowd or inside the area where there are protesters, and those protestors are doing something unlawful or something they are not supposed to do, it’s sometimes an unintended consequence when we fire the pepper balls into the crowd,” Chavous said.

The pepper balls were fired directly at and hit WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust and WAVE 3 News photojournalist James Dobson while they were reporting on protests in the city Friday evening.

In response to what happened to Rust and Dobson, WAVE 3 News General Manager Ken Selvaggi issued a statement saying, “We strongly condemn the actions of the LMPD officer who tonight repeatedly fired at and hit our reporter and cameraman, both of whom were courageously and lawfully covering breaking news in their community. There is simply no justification for the Louisville police to wantonly open fire, even with pepper balls, on any journalists under any circumstances.”

The statement also said, “When the officer fired at Ms. Rust and Mr. Dobson, the two had been following police instructions, were standing behind the police line when they were fired upon, and were not disrupting or otherwise interfering with law enforcement.”

Read the full statement below:

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