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Louisville officer reassigned pending investigation after firing pepper balls at news crew

WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust appeared to have been hit by pepper balls, reportedly fired by a police officer, during a Friday night protest in downtown Louisville. (Source: WAVE/Gray News)
WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust appeared to have been hit by pepper balls, reportedly fired by a police officer, during a Friday night protest in downtown Louisville. (Source: WAVE/Gray News)(WVLT)
Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 8:46 PM EDT
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Louisville, Kentucky police said an officer believed to have fired pepper balls at a WAVE 3 News crew 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 protestors 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,” LMPD assistant chief Lavita Chavous said.

The pepper balls were thrown at and hit WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust and photojournalist James Dobson while they were covering protests Friday night.

WAVE 3 News General Manager Ken Selvaggi said the two had been following police instructions, were standing behind police lines and were not disrupting or interfering with law enforcement when they were hit.

"There is simply no justification for the Louisville police to wantonly open fire, even with pepper balls, on any journalists under any circumstances," Selvaggi said.

Copyright 2020 WVLT via WAVE. All rights reserved.

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