Even during the coronavirus lockdown, black violence is unrelenting. Worse, taking down basketball rims hasn’t increased social distancing (blacks are disproportionately impacted by the virus in the city) nor stopped fatal/nonfatal shootings in Louisville among the black population.
LMPD: Louisville seeing uptick in violent crime, black youth homicides, WLKY.com, May 6, 2020
LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Five months into the year, and there have been 40 homicides across the Metro. According to LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, 8 of those victims were black boys under the age of 18.
“Schools, parks, community centers, obviously they are closed. Basketball rims have been taken down to stop that interaction between people,” Conrad said. These were all measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
But Conrad says they can’t pinpoint an exact cause or solution. The idea of a citywide curfew has been tossed around, but Conrad doesn’t think that’s the answer.
“We’ve had some challenges between these groups or gangs whatever you want to call them and we’re working to address them. I don’t know if I would call it a turf war, but there are definitely challenges between these two groups,” Conrad said.
DeMarrion Fleming is the founder of nonprofit organization Sowing Seeds with Faith. He works with black youths in west Louisville, and says he knew several of the young men who have been killed in recent weeks.
“Four of those kids have come through my program and two of those kids were innocent bystanders,” Fleming said.
Fleming said he’s advocating for gathering places to reopen so children have safe places to go and stay occupied. Many have been shut down due to COVID-19.
“I’ve lost six kids in three months. So, closing centers has cost me six lives, opening centers has not cost me anything. So, I’m going to take the other side of the risk now,” Fleming said.
March 23 through March 27 was supposed to be Youth Violence Prevention Week. Imani Smith is part of the youth implementation team with the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.
Smith said they anticipated an uptick in violence during the pandemic, but says it is not fair to pinpoint one cause.
“You have to take into consideration that the slew of things coming about because of the pandemic, people are going to respond to it the way that they’re mental health allows them to,” said Smith.
There have been 118 non-fatal shootings in Louisville this year.
The coronavirus shutdown seems to be accelerating black violence across the nation, with similar patters seen in Chicago, Baltimore, Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Charlotte, Washington D.C., and Indianapolis.
But how can we blame white people for this increase in black violence, even when basketball rims come down?