Louisville protesters march past curfew over Breonna Taylor decision

Kentucky city saw fourth night of protests after grand jury declined to charge officers in fatal shooting of Taylor
People march in Louisville, Kentucky, on 26 September.
A diverse crowd of hundreds marched in Louisville’s streets chanting “Black Lives Matter” on Saturday night, the fourth night of protests after a grand jury declined to charge officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
People also chanted “No justice, no peace” as cars honked along a busy downtown artery in this Kentucky city that has seen more than 120 days of demonstrations over the death of the 26-year-old Black woman in a police raid.
A few police cars followed, officers telling protesters to stay on the sidewalk and out of the street. Many briefly ended up back at a downtown square that has been a focal point of protests.
But as a 9pm curfew approached, a police loudspeaker announced that anyone who remained in the park would be arrested. The square emptied, many dispersing though one group headed to a nearby church where protesters had found refuge on previous nights.
As a crowd gathered outside the First Unitarian church, fires were set in a street nearby after 11pm. Police said fireworks burned a car, and windows had been broken at Spalding University. Police tweeted that arrests would be made, but specific numbers weren’t immediately released.
Police officers stand guard as demonstrators march during a peaceful protest in Louisville, Kentucky on 26 September.
Police officers stand guard as demonstrators march during a peaceful protest in Louisville, Kentucky on 26 September. Photograph: Eduardo Muñoz/Reuters
Some demonstrators were seen with makeshift shields made of plywood. Others took shelter inside the church, which closed its doors around midnight.
A previous protest on Friday night was peaceful though police arrested 22 for curfew violations. A police spokesman said some also were charged with failure to disperse.
Louisville’s mayor, Greg Fischer, had urged continued peaceful protests at a news conference Saturday evening.
“I’m mindful that many in our community are hurting and angry about the decisions announced this week,” Fischer said. The mayor said he supports protesters’ first amendment rights to protest though “we just ask you to do that peacefully please”.
Taylor was shot multiple times on 13 March after her boyfriend fired at officers who entered her home during a narcotics raid by white officers, authorities said. Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t know who was coming in and fired in self-defense, wounding one officer.
On Wednesday, Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, announced a grand jury indicted one officer on wanton endangerment charges, saying he fired gunshots into a neighboring home that didn’t strike anyone. That officer has been fired.
Cameron said the other officers were not charged with Taylor’s killing because they acted to protect themselves.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, visited a downtown park on Friday with family and her lawyers, and called on Kentucky officials to release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings. Palmer said in a statement read by a family member that she felt the criminal justice system had failed her. Palmer marched at the head of Friday’s protest march.
The grand jury’s ruling weighed heavily on protesters like Amber Brown. A central figure in the downtown demonstrations, Brown said she was angry.
“It feels like we went backward,” she said. “I think people are still in shock and we’re not sure how to move forward.”
Brown criticized the police crackdown in the downtown area that has been in effect since early in the week.
“People are afraid to exercise their first amendment right,” she said. “Since when does protest have a curfew? Since when does freedom and civil rights have a curfew?”

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