Armed diner responds to BLM protesters in Louisville restaurant's outdoor space

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Picture it. It’s Kentucky Derby weekend in Louisville and you are out enjoying a nice dinner on Saturday evening. Next thing you know, a Black Lives Matter protest invades the restaurant’s space and begins harassing outdoor diners. What’s a diner to do? For one man, the answer to that question was to pull out his gun and have a chat with the protesters.

An employee of La Chasse, described as an upscale European restaurant, called Louisville Metro Police Saturday when protesters, marching northbound in the street in front of the restaurant, entered the restaurant’s property. Many protesters were armed. It turns out that at least one of the diners was armed, too, and he took out his gun and confronted the intruders. A Louisville Courier-Journal reporter tweeted out the confrontation.

A reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal tweeted several photos and videos of the incident. A man was seen pointing his pistol at several demonstrators during an altercation. Several protesters also appeared to be carrying firearms. Video shared by the newspaper showed a female demonstrator directing others to move away down the block, and tensions at the restaurant appeared to dissipate.

Watch the older man in the blue shirt and white pants as he addresses the protester with the man bun, also armed. It’s kind of hard to see but, yeah, it looks like the man bun guy is carrying, too.

A spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police, Alicia Smiley, emailed a statement to Fox News.

“During the encounter both patrons and protesters brandished firearms,” Smiley said in an email to Fox News. “This incident occurred after the arrests of southbound protesters in the area on the 1500 block of Bardstown Road. The arrests of that group were made after protesters repeatedly blocked the roadway despite officers giving multiple verbal requests for them to utilize the sidewalk.”

Arrests were made because the protesters were blocking the street, therefore presenting a threat to public safety if traffic couldn’t move through the area. That is why the reporter mentioned that protesters were on the sidewalk – they were told by the police to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk.

Louisville Metro Police Department shared a livestream on Facebook of their protest response. Video showed protesters surrounding and shouting profanities at officers making an arrest. At least one individual was seen waving a Black Lives Matter banner. A female voice narrating the video said officers were surrounded while making an arrest on a woman who refused to stand and walk on her own.

At least five protest-related arrests were made Saturday.

Records shared with Fox News said individuals arrested had ignored several announcements to disperse from the roadway and remain on the sidewalk. Police said the activity in the street brought alarm to several businesses.

Protesters marched outside Churchill Downs before the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. It doesn’t look like a very big event, though. They held signs in support of Breonna Taylor and slogans such as “No Justice, No Peace,” and “No Justice, No Derby.” The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that “Black Lives Matter Louisville, Black Market KY, Color of Change and UltraViolet commissioned a plane banner that flew over Churchill Downs with the message, “Protect Black Women. Divest from Police.”

Police say that the march in the street and the protesters’ activities alarmed business owners. Police chased one woman on foot as she ran from them as they tried to arrest her. A convicted felon was charged for possession of a handgun and “first-degree wanton endangerment of an officer.” Police found open alcohol containers and a loaded handgun in the front seat of his vehicle.

Crime is up in Louisville and the police department is suffering a five-year high in retirements. The announcement that the Department of Justice is investigating the department over the death of Breonna Taylor adds to the tension.

The incident Saturday came weeks after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department would be conducting an investigation into the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government and the Louisville Police Department more than a one year after Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by a city police officer conducting a search warrant at her apartment.

The probe is happening as Louisville has seen a surge of violent crime. According to police statistics, murders, rapes and robberies were up more than 81% above the five-year averages in January and February. This followed a 2020 where police retirements and resignations were at a five-year high after Taylor’s death. Approximately 15% of the police force left during that time.

Frankly, I’m surprised that armed citizens don’t push back on protesters more often. It is still a rare occurrence even though we have seen more than a year of protests that often turn violent in streets across the country. A favorite target is restaurants with outdoor dining. The customers are sitting ducks for anyone looking to start trouble. As stories like this one become more frequent, more gun owners will do the same. Enough is enough. BLM’s right to protest does not supersede the right of others to go about their lives. Level heads prevailed this time and that woman who was motioning the protesters to move on helped. Next time it may be a different outcome.