A 34-year old woman and convicted felon was arrested by Louisville police after she pointed a gun at a motorist during a protest of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Friday, but the woman’s fellow protesters are angrily asserting that the driver of that car should have been arrested as well.
According to the Louisville Metro Police Department, Robin Ash is now facing several charges in connection with the incident, including wanton endangerment, criminal mischief, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. It’s that last charge that could land Ash in serious legal trouble, especially if the U.S. Attorney decides to prosecute her case at the federal level, where she’d be facing a minimum of five years in prison.
Some of those demonstrating with Ash say that she shouldn’t have been the only one arrested, however. They say that the motorist was the initial aggressor, and pulled a gun of his own.
Sheri Wright, a Louisville woman marching with the group on Friday, filmed the incident and posted a separate video of the encounter on her own Facebook page. Ash isn’t shown in Wright’s video, but the footage shows the driver speed past protesters before coming to a stop.
In the video, the driver, still in his vehicle, points a handgun at people outside the car. He drives a short distance forward (the kick is not seen in Wright’s video) before exiting his car and pointing the gun into the crowd as he inspects the back of his vehicle.
Wright’s video doesn’t show Ash at all, so it’s impossible to tell if the driver pointed his gun in response to Ash or in response to the crowd approaching and surrounding his car, but based on the video released by the LMPD, it looks like Ash pointed the gun at the man almost as soon as his car had stopped. Both videos show the crowd then surging around the car, and in Wright’s video you can hear several people shouting that the driver has a gun.
If I was behind the wheel, I probably wouldn’t have driven just a short distance before getting out to check the damage to my car, but it sounds like the driver was well within his rights to try to get the mob to back away, and in fact Wright’s video doesn’t show him yelling or threatening protesters. He briefly points his gun to get them to back away, but actually engages in conversation with a few individuals as he checks out the dent to his rear driver’s side panel.
It should be noted that Sheri Wright doesn’t exactly seem like the most unbiased of observers either.
But the confrontation between the driver and the protesters in the street, Wright said, was a harrowing turn that showed the danger those who have demonstrated face.
“He could have killed who knows how many people if that gun would have gone off,” Wright said.
Wright ignores completely the fact that the driver had a gun pointed at him. She never mentions the armed woman in her account on Facebook, and portrays the driver as some sort of reckless nut who was “deliberately targeting protesters and trying to run them over,” of which there’s no evidence whatsoever. If you watch the video released by the LMPD, it looks like the guy was trying to get past the protesters and turn left at a traffic light, but ended up stopping his car as several demonstrators approached the vehicle.
Thankfully the incident ended without injury to either side, but I’m wondering why this demonstration was allowed in the first place. Last month, the Louisville police announced that protests would no longer be allowed on city streets, and that protesters would have to follow the same traffic laws as everyone else. Clearly that wasn’t the case on Friday, where protesters were blocking several lanes of traffic. If police want to avoid any more incidents like this, they need to back up their words with actions and ensure that these protests remain peaceful and out of the roadways.