LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky is asking Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell to dismiss all charges against protesters arrested Thursday at the First Unitarian Church.
The ACLU says Louisville Metro Police refused to allow the protesters into or off of the grounds of the church for hours. The group says people were trying to get into the church for refuge, but that blockades by LMPD prevented them from seeking sanctuary and from getting to their cars so they could go home. The ACLU claims the countywide curfew that takes place daily through the weekend from 9 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. and efforts to enforce it violates the constitutional rights of participants.
The group sent a letter to O'Connell today asking that the misdemeanor and felony charges against the 24 people arrested be dropped.
One of those arrested last night and charged is Rep. Attica Scott (D-41 Dist.). She was live-streaming from her Instagram account and filmed the arrest of herself and others in her group.
She was released from Metro Corrections Friday morning and told Spectrum News 1 she and her daughter were both charged with rioting, violating curfew, and unlawful assembly.
Scott said, "I want people to know those of us who are out seeking justice in no way want to hurt your business, and as people have probably seen we haven't done that at all. There are some people who aren't part of the movement for Justice for Breonna Taylor who decided to take advantage of that movement, but the folks that are here organizing, leading, activists push them out. That's not what we're about."
Acting Police Chief Robert Schroeder addressed the situation Thursday night. He said during a press briefing that LMPD declared Unlawful Assembly in the city before the 9 p.m. curfew because of damage being caused by protesters at Jeff Ruby's restaurant on Main Street. Declaring Unlawful assembly gave LMPD the right to have protesters disperse or be arrested. Schroeder said damage was also done to TARC buses and the Louisville Free Public Library. The group approaching the police barricade at First Unitarian Church was large and LMPD arrested those they believe to be involved with the damage at the library. Other protesters gathered on the grounds of the church and yelled at police for over an hour. LMPD was live-streaming the event on its Facebook page.
Schroeder said once the library was secured police met with protesters and formulated a plan that would allow those gathered to leave and LMPD also left the scene. Schroeder said officers then responded to other looting calls throughout the city.
The ACLU gave O'Connell until 3:30 p.m. to respond to its request. Josh Abner, Executive Administrator with the County Attorney's office said in a written statement to Spectrum News 1 this afternoon, "Our office has not received, nor has it had the opportunity to examine relevant evidence for these charges from last night. We will give deliberate and thoughtful review to the cases involving Representative Scott and others.”