Dozens of officers in Louisville, Kentucky, appeared to walk out on the mayor on Wednesday as he tried to address them, according to video footage of the incident.
Fraternal Order of Police President Ryan Nichols, who was not in attendance, confirmed the walkout. He said that police are frustrated with Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, while they have been responding to protests, riots, and looting since last week.
“They feel completely unsupported and disrespected by this administration,” Nichols said, according to the Courier-Journal, which obtained the video of the walkout. “They feel whatever he was going to say would have been nothing more than lip service, and he does not care about them at all.”
The video footage showed Fischer trying to address the police department as officers and detectives walked out of the room.
Nichols said Fischer’s response has been “directed and focused against police.”
The protests in Louisville are part of a broader, nationwide demonstration following the death of George Floyd, a man who died in police custody last week. Former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder.
There have been tensions between the mayor’s office and the police department after an unarmed black woman was shot and killed outside her apartment on March 13.
In addressing the walkout, Fischer told The Hill in a statement that officers are “putting in long hours” and “suffering insults and assaults from people they are working to protect.”
“They are frustrated, and some of them expressed that frustration today,” Fischer said. “I absolutely respect that. That doesn’t change my appreciation of the work they are doing, as I’ve expressed time and again.”
He added that “I hope our residents will embrace our police officers as guardians—I know that’s how the vast, vast majority view their role.”
Memorials will also be held on Saturday in Hoke County, North Carolina, where Floyd’s sister lives, as well as in Houston on Monday, near where Floyd lived, reports said. And a funeral for Floyd is planned for Tuesday with private services at an undisclosed location.