Large protests continue following grand jury decision
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — 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 in the crowd 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 gone wrong.
A few police cars followed behind, with officers telling protesters to stay on the sidewalk and out of the street before the march ended. Many briefly ended up back at a downtown square that has been a focal point of protests.
But as a 9 p.m. curfew time approached, a police loudspeaker announced that anyone who remained in the park would be arrested for a curfew violation. The square emptied out as people departed, 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 late Saturday, fires were set in a street nearby after 11 p.m. Police said fireworks burned a car, and windows had been broken at Spalding University and Presentation Academy buildings close by.
Some demonstrators were seen with makeshift shields made of plywood. Others took shelter inside the church, which closed its doors around midnight.
About 100 people remained inside the church, Jud Hendrix, executive director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, told WDRB-TV around 1 a.m. Sunday. Hendrix said he was working with police to determine if people could leave the church to go home without being arrested.
“People inside the church were asked to remain there while police were conducting the investigation and securing the area,” the police department said in a tweet, sharing aerial and ground video of the fires that were set, windows that were broken and graffiti that had been spray painted.
As of the 2:20 a.m. tweet, 28 people had been arrested, the police department said. Later, police corrected the number of people arrested to 25.
A previous protest on Friday night was peaceful though police arrested 22 people for curfew violations. A police spokesman said some also were charged with failure to disperse.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had urged continued peaceful protests in an appearance 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 March 13 after her boyfriend fired at officers who had 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.