The Louisville police force announces new rules regarding protests after months of public demonstrations against police brutality.
The Courier-Journal reports that the Louisville’s Metro Police Department will no longer allow protests in public streets, only on sidewalks, compliant with pedestrian and traffic laws. Violators could face a citation and possible arrest police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said.
Protesters using their bodies or vehicles to block traffic will also now face similar consequences.
Protesters tell the Courier Journal the new mandates are an “intimidation tactic” in efforts to minimize their efforts and calls for justice. The demonstrators plan to continue their marches with intent to disrupt the city until the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor face criminal charges.
Taylor died on March 13 after a no-knock warrant was served on her home. Police opened fire, striking her eight times. She died almost instantly at the age of 26.
“The objective and the goal is to disrupt just as much as (police) disrupt people’s lives,” said Chanelle Helm, a member of Black Lives Matter Louisville, to the Courier Journal.
She continues, “I don’t think anybody is really bothered by them. They decided they want to spend all type of money to keep coming out and interrupting and just assaulting people.”
According to Halladay, events over the weekend lead to the decision. She names “an increase in aggressive behavior over the past week, including several incidents Saturday night,” reports the Courier Journal.
The LMPD detail their new regulations on an Instagram upload.
“For nearly 75 days, Louisville residents have taken to the streets to express their desire for accountability and change. One of the primary ways of doing that has been to hold nightly caravans – both cars and foot marches – throughout the city. We have seen increasingly unsafe behavior, including an escalation in aggressive behavior over the past week or so,” the police force writes in the caption.
On the night in question, protesters allegedly both drove and marched through 4th Street Live, the city’s entertainment district where tables and chairs were flipped. Another incident on the same night, a protester reportedly kicked a vehicle.
However, according to the Courier Journal, speakers at a Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression press conference claim the driver initiated the confrontation.
Sunday, 150 people organized a march for both Taylor and Michael Brown Jr. on the sixth anniversary of his death. According to the Courier Journal, the group gathered at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville with leaders reminding that the demonstration would be peaceful amid the announcement from law enforcement.
“We were disappointed by the violence last night and deeply sorry for those who were impacted by scary, tense incidents,” Mayor Greg Fischer said Sunday in a statement reports the Courier Journal.
He continues, “We continue to support peaceful protests — but if public safety is threatened, we will arrest those breaking the law, as evidenced by a dozen arrests last night and plans for stricter enforcement going forward.”
The ACLU of Kentucky has “serious concerns” about the announcement.
“Over the past months, we have seen a pattern of overblown and inappropriate reactions to a community that is rightfully upset with its government’s delay in holding the police accountable,” spokeswoman Amber Duke said in an email to the Courier Journal.
Until Freedom, a national organization of organizers, lawyers, artists, & survivors of injustice, will remain in Louisville until protest goals are met.
“We want to remind LMPD that there is a constitution and the people of Louisville have every right to protest whenever they feel like it. It’s called democracy. … LMPD needs to prepare for some “good trouble” that’s coming in the next few weeks in the spirit of Congressman John Lewis,” Until Freedom co-founder Linda Sarsour said to the Courier Journal.
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