Images showed a Louisville restaurant patron pointing a handgun at armed Black Lives Matter protesters who swarmed the outdoor dining patio during demonstrations in honor of Breonna Taylor on the day of the Kentucky Derby.
Louisville Metro Police on Saturday evening responded to La Chasse, an upscale European restaurant located in the 1300 block of Bardstown Road, as protesters were marching northbound on the street. A restaurant employee told dispatchers "that multiple armed protesters entered the restaurant property, which included outdoor dining space," police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley told Fox News.
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.
"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."
Protesters marched outside Churchill Downs ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby in Louisville Saturday.
People carried signs with messages that included, "We haven't forgotten Breonna," "No Justice, No Peace," and "No Justice, No Derby." 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," the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
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.
One woman gave officers a short foot chase down the block after fleeing officers who tried to detain her. A man was charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and first-degree wanton endangerment of an officer. He was arrested after an officer allegedly spotted open alcohol containers and a loaded handgun in the front seat of his vehicle.
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.
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.