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Mother of Louisville Police Shooting Victim Calls for Peace as Several Protests Break Out

In this May 29, 2020, photo, a protester pulls a burning board from a fire set in response to the death of George Floyd in downtown Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)

In this May 29, 2020, photo, a protester pulls a burning board from a fire set in response to the death of George Floyd in downtown Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear read the statement from Breonna Taylor's mother hours after gunshots erupted during protests late on Thursday outside City Hall. One person was in critical condition, Louisville Metro Police said on Friday.

Looking to defuse anger after gunfire wounded at least seven people at a protest in Louisville, the mother of a black woman killed by police urged protesters on Friday to continue demanding justice but do so "without hurting each other".

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear read the statement from Breonna Taylor's mother hours after gunshots erupted during protests late on Thursday outside City Hall. One person was in critical condition, Louisville Metro Police said on Friday.

Mayor Greg Fischer said police officers fired no shots. Instead, they provided aid to the wounded, he said. TV video showed terrified protesters fleeing as gunfire erupted.

With more rallies planned, Taylor's mother joined the chorus of calls for protests to remain peaceful. In her statement, Tamika Palmer said her daughter -- an emergency medical technician -- devoted her life to others and the "last thing she'd want right now is any more violence".

"Please keep saying her name," her statement said. "Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let's do it the right way without hurting each other. We can and we will make some real change here. Now is the time. Let's make it happen, but safely."

On Friday evening, what appeared to be several hundred people gathered downtown for the second night of protests. The crowd briefly blocked traffic near City Hall and chanted, "No justice, no peace."

Protesters carried signs calling for justice for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

Police presence intensified around 9:45 p.m. on Friday as officers in riot gear stood shoulder-to-shoulder moving people down a key street near City Hall, the Courier Journal reported. A police officer was seen on camera during a WAVE-TV broadcast firing what appeared to be pepper bullets directly at the camera crew.

"I'm getting shot! I'm getting shot!" WAVE-TV reporter Kaitlin Rust is heard yelling off-camera. She told the indignant anchors int he studio that the crew was behind the line, but police wanted them to move further away.

Police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said no shots had been fired at Friday's protest as of 10:40 p.m. and no significant injuries had been reported. Two people were arrested. Bracing for more protests, police said they wouldn't tolerate violence or property destruction.

"We value the right to free speech and understand this community has a lot to say right now," Louisville police Lt. Col. LaVita Chavous said. "We hear you."

But she added that police were prepared to "take whatever action we must to try to ensure no one else is injured during this time of unrest. We ask the community to please voice your opinions in a peaceful way".

Meanwhile, Louisville's mayor said the use of no-knock warrants by police was being suspended, the latest in a series of policy changes and others actions in response to Taylor's death.