Hundreds of people marched to city hall Friday and then rallied in support of the ousted police chief whose firing this month has either led to or exposed an enormous divide in the community. It's been billed as a march for healing, but it's pretty clear the scars are still fresh.
"We're not just gonna stay hushed. If we see something that's wrong, we're going to react. That's what we do as police," said Rick McCubbin, President of the Louisville Fraternal Order of Police.
The union that represents 730 Louisville police officers says it hopes to send a loud message to the mayor that he overreacted when he fired Chief Gene Sherrard.
"I have looked at myself in the mirror over and over again and said, 'How could you have done that? How could you have done it?'" said fired Police Chief Sherrard.
Sherrard now says it was a mistake to allow awards for valor to be given to two white police officers for their conduct during an altercation last may with a black teenage robbery suspect that ended when they shot and killed him.
"It was a slap in the face to this community and those that were behind it knew it was a slap in the face to this community," said Rev. Louis Coleman.
A grand jury cleared the two, but many here feel to honor these officers was inappropriate and only served to open old wounds. Despite ongoing police protests, the mayor says his decision is final.
"You know, the issues have been resolved but yet the protest goes forward," said Mayor Coleman.
The two officers returned their awards on Thursday, but it's clear the ceremony and the dismissal has affected the community in ways the police killing did not, and healing will take some time.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson called on the Justice Department to investigate how the Louisville department treats black suspects. Dr. Joseph McMillan, head of the Kentucky Rainbow Coalition, said Jackson plans to come to Louisville.
"It's a battle between the police department and the mayor. They are bashing heads and the community that needs healing the most is the black community," McMillan said.
But police deny any officers abuse blacks and have called Armstrong's actions "rash."
The dispute has been as much political as racial. A black minister addressed police, thanked them for protecting the city's black residents and said he supported police. He joined the march to City Hall.
"A lot of people wonder why we are here today," said Dennis Lyons of Gospel Missionary Baptist Church. "It's because you have stood with us...in our moment of sickness...when criminals were attacking us, you have stood with us. We as a community will stand with you."