Breonna Taylor protesters in Louisville defy curfew, confront armed counter-protesters claiming to 'defend the Constitution'

Written by on September 25, 2020

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Protesters gathered after a grand jury’s resolution to not indict law enforcement officials on prices instantly associated to Breonna Taylor’s dying. USA TODAY

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Protesters took to the streets once more on Thursday evening, defying a citywide curfew for the second evening and coming face-to-face with armed counter-protesters claiming to “defend the Structure.” 

A day after a grand jury’s resolution within the lethal police capturing of Breonna Taylor sparked a brand new wave of nationwide protests for racial equality and police reform, Tamika Palmer made a brief appearance at her daughter’s memorial in Jefferson Sq. Park as tons of marched by downtown Louisville chanting Taylor’s title

The Black Lives Matter protesters at one level confronted a couple of dozen armed counter-protesters, with one man wearing a camouflage helmet and a inexperienced vest telling reporters he was a member of the “Oath Keepers” and had come to Louisville from North Carolina.

Lots of the counter-protesters wore military-style garb and carried lengthy weapons.

“We’re not right here to start out nothing,” the person instructed reporters, including that the group was there to guard the property of native companies.

Whereas some marchers confronted the counter-protesters, others urged them to maintain their distance.

“Again up! Don’t be silly!” one man yelled. “Stroll by and preserve shifting. Don’t interact these folks with no weapons!”

The Oath Keepers describe themselves as “a nonpartisan affiliation of present and previously serving army, police and first responders” whose aim is to “defend the Structure,” in response to their web site. The Southern Poverty Legislation Middle describes them as “one of many largest radical anti-government teams within the U.S.”

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By 10 p.m. EDT, an hour after Mayor Greg Fischer’s curfew, Louisville police could be seen arresting protesters close to the First Unitarian Church, which had supplied its property as a refuge for protesters.

State Rep. Attica Scott, the Democratic lawmaker sponsoring a invoice to finish no-knock warrants just like the one used when Taylor was shot and killed in March, was among the arrests, mentioned Tracy Dotson, a spokesman for the union representing Metro Correction officers. 

Scott has been charged with first-degree rioting — a felony — together with failure to disperse and illegal meeting, each misdemeanors, Dotson mentioned. 

The protest reached a negotiated finish round 11 p.m., with each the remaining demonstrators and police in riot gear leaving the church space.

Not like the earlier evening, when protests broke out in cities across the U.S., Thursday evening offered only some demonstrations.

A vigil for Taylor and Dion Johnson, a Black man who was fatally shot by an Arizona state trooper on Memorial Day, brought together at least 120 people in downtown Phoenix. 

“It has been a protracted, robust week,” mentioned Itoro Elijah of  the W.E. Rising Undertaking, a neighborhood group in opposition to police violence and systemic racism that organized the vigil. “There’s all the time the hope that we’ll be heard.”

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The somber vigil morphed right into a considerably rowdy protest later within the evening, with about 100 folks marching within the streets, some carrying a banner that mentioned, “Abolish the police for Dion and Breonna” and others flattening barricades outdoors the Phoenix Police Division. The protest ended by 11 p.m.

A gaggle of about 250 protesters marched in Rochester, New York, organized by a bunch referred to as Free the Folks Roc. They referred to as for public accountability and later sat quietly on the street outdoors the town’s Public Security Constructing.

“I am drained already. I couldn’t think about marching for 194 days after which getting slapped within the face,” mentioned organizer Ashley Gantt. “That’s what that was (for Taylor).”

An organized march by the streets of Hollywood got here to an abrupt finish when a truck drove by the group of protesters, putting at the least one particular person, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Breonna Taylor protesters urged nonviolence. Then 2 Louisville police officers were shot

Protests have been largely peaceable on Wednesday evening, simply hours after the indictment ruling rippled throughout the nation — however not with out violence or strife.

The shooting of two Louisville police officers additional infected tensions in Taylor’s house metropolis, whereas Portland police declared a riot in Oregon’s most populous metropolis and made 13 arrests after some protesters threw Molotov cocktails at officers.

Police in Atlanta and Seattle additionally reported a number of arrests after utilizing chemical brokers together with tear gasoline and pepper spray to disperse protesters.

A whole bunch gathered in different main cities throughout the nation, together with Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and Washington, D.C., marching by streets and chanting for justice and police reform.

Contributing: Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.); Cynthia Benjamin and Sean Lahman, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle; Madeline Ackley and Kaila White, The Arizona Republic; The Related Press.

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