Taylor Protests Continue in Louisville 09/25 06:25
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Some of them raised their fists and called out
"Black lives matter!" Others tended to the letters, flowers and signs grouped
together in a square in downtown Louisville. All of them said her name: Breonna
People dismayed that the officers who shot the Black woman in her apartment
during a drug raid last March wouldn't be charged with her death vowed to
persist in their fight for justice. The big question for a town torn apart by
Taylor's death and the larger issue of racism in America was how to move
Many turned to the streets --- as they did in several U.S. cities --- to
call for reforms to combat racist policing.
"We've got to take it lying down that the law won't protect us, that they
can get away with killing us," said Lavel White, a regular protester in
downtown Louisville who is Black. He was drawn to a march Thursday night
because he was devastated by a grand jury's decision a day earlier not to
charge the officers. "If we can't get justice for Breonna Taylor, can we get
justice for anybody?"
He was angry that police in riot gear were out in force when protesters had
been peaceful as they streamed through the streets of downtown Louisville past
a nighttime curfew. Demonstrators also gathered in places like Los Angeles
where a vehicle ran through a crowd of protesters, injuring one person. In
Portland, Oregon --- a city that has seen many protests since the death of
George Floyd in Minneapolis --- a fire was set at a police union building.
Taylor, a Black woman who was an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple
times by white officers after Taylor's boyfriend fired at them, authorities
said. He said he didn't know who was coming in and opened fire in self-defense,
wounding one officer. Police entered on a warrant connected to a suspect who
did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday that the investigation
showed officers acted in self-defense. One officer who has already been fired
was charged with firing into a neighboring apartment.
The FBI is still investigating whether Taylor's civil rights were violated.
But the burden of proof for such cases is very high, with prosecutors having to
prove officers knew they were acting illegally and made a willful decision to
cause someone's death.
While there was despair after the decision in Taylor's case, others saw
reasons to hope.
Reginique Jones said she'll keep pressing for increased police
accountability and for a statewide ban on "no knock" warrants --- the kind
issued in the Taylor case, though the state attorney general said the
investigation showed police announced themselves before busting into her
"I believe that we are going to get past this," Jones said as she returned
Thursday to the park in downtown Louisville that has been at the center of the
protests. "We can still get some justice."
Taylor's family planned to speak Friday in the park that's become known as
The case has exposed the divide in the U.S. over bringing justice for Black
Americans killed by authorities and the laws that allow officers to be charged,
which regularly favor police.
Since Taylor's killing, Louisville has taken some steps to address
protesters' concerns. In addition to the officer who was fired and later
charged, three others were put on desk duty. Officials have banned no-knock
warrants and hired a Black woman as the permanent police chief --- a first for
Louisville also agreed to more police reforms as it settled a lawsuit that
included $12 million for Taylor's family. But many have expressed frustration
that more has not been done.
And so they took to the streets.
Louisville police in riot gear barricaded roads and cars honked as the crowd
marched past a nighttime curfew. Officers blocked the exits of a church where
protesters gathered to avoid arrest for violating the curfew.
Several people were detained, including state Rep. Attica Scott, a
Louisville Democrat. Scott unveiled legislation recently that would ban the use
of no-knock search warrants in Kentucky. The measure, called Breonna's Law in
honor of Taylor, also would require drug and alcohol testing of officers
involving in shootings and deadly incidents and require that body cameras be
worn during the execution of all search warrants.
Police eventually pulled back late Thursday after negotiating with
demonstrators to end the protest.
At least 24 people were arrested as of 1 a.m. Friday, police said.
Authorities alleged the protesters broke windows at a restaurant, damaged city
buses, tried to set a fire and threw a flare into the street.
Earlier, it got heated between some protesters and a group of 12 to 15 armed
white people wearing military-style uniforms, but it didn't turn physical.
The curfew will last through the weekend, and Gov. Andy Beshear called up
the National Guard for "limited missions."
Peaceful protests a night earlier gave way to some destruction and violence.
Two officers were shot and were expected to recover.
Larynzo D. Johnson, 26, was charged and he's scheduled to be in court
Friday. Court records did not list a lawyer for him.
In the Louisville square where protesters often gather, Rose Henderson has
been looking after the flowers, signs and letters placed at a memorial for
Taylor and hopes officials won't try to remove them.
"We're going to stay out here and hold this place," Henderson said.