Fayette County

25 protesters stage 'die-in' at Fayette Mall

Some patrons at Fayette Mall in Lexington walked by while others stopped to watch as a group called #HandsUPKy held a "die-in" in the center of the mall Saturday.
Some patrons at Fayette Mall in Lexington walked by while others stopped to watch as a group called #HandsUPKy held a "die-in" in the center of the mall Saturday. Herald-Leader

About 25 protesters held a "die-in" Saturday night at Fayette Mall to protest the deaths of black men during police confrontations in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City.

There were no arrests as mall security officers let the demonstrators lie on the floor and voice a call-and-response chant:

"What do we want?"

"Justice!"

"And when do we want it?"

"Now!"

They also held signs with slogans that have become familiar at similar protests across the country: "Black lives matter," "Don't shoot" and "Hands up."

The demonstration took place in the mall's center court, a high-traffic thoroughfare near a children's play area.

After lying on the floor for several minutes, the protesters stood up and left the mall through the food court exit.

The scene took place on one of the busiest shopping days of the season. Some mall shoppers stopped to watch and pulled out smartphones to record the demonstration, while others kept on walking with barely a glance at the people lying on the floor.

Spectators had different reactions.

"It's really cool," said Kymberli Anderson, a University of Kentucky student. "It shows that people aren't going to give up."

But Ken Swafford of Indiana, who was in town for UK's basketball game against North Carolina, wasn't as enthusiastic.

"We care about all lives, no matter what race," he said. "But we also care about our police officers and observing the peace. We have to trust in our judicial system. We can't just rise up and go and hurt one another and destroy property, because if you take the law into your own hands, it never stops."

Edd Frazier, 69, who described himself as "an old hippie," was among the demonstrators. He said he wanted to participate "to make people think."

"It is important for everybody to care about this," Frazier said. "I just don't like what's going on in this society."

Sarah Enlow, marketing director for the mall, said in a written statement: "The safety and comfort of our shoppers, employees and tenants are our top priority. Mall security is a 24-hour, 365-day program, inside and outside the property, and plans are adjusted based on traffic level and peak days and times.

"We will continue to work with the local police department to ensure our standards are maintained," Enlow said.

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