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Mom calls for keeping peace

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Looking to defuse anger after gunfire wounded at least seven people at a protest in Louisville, the mother of a black woman killed by police urged protesters Friday to continue demanding justice but do so “without hurting each other.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Breonna Taylor’s mother hours after gunshots erupted during protests late Thursday outside City Hall. One person was in critical condition, Louisville Metro Police said Friday.

Mayor Greg Fischer said police officers fired no shots. Instead, they provided aid to the wounded, he said. TV video showed terrified protesters fleeing as gunfire erupted.

With more rallies planned, Taylor’s mother joined the chorus of calls for protests to remain peaceful. In her statement, Tamika Palmer said her daughter — an emergency medical technician — devoted her life to others and the “last thing she’d want right now is any more violence.”

“Please keep saying her name,” her statement said. “Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can and we will make some real change here. Now is the time. Let’s make it happen, but safely.”

On Friday evening, about 100 people flooded a downtown street near City Hall, briefly blocking traffic and chanting “no justice, no peace.” Protesters carried signs calling for justice for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. No police were visible at the time, and officials have said they will let protesters demonstrate as long as there is no violence.

Beshear, speaking on CNN, said Thursday’s protest started peacefully but some people later “turned it into something that it should not have been.”

Bracing for more protests, police said they wouldn’t tolerate violence or property destruction.

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