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Rep. Attica Scott: Protesters Targeted For Arrest As Political Retaliation

Rep. Attica Scott: Protesters Targeted For Arrest As Political Retaliation

Anticipating the “potential for civil unrest,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer barricaded downtown, amped up law enforcement and implemented a dusk to dawn curfew ahead of a big announcement in the Breonna Taylor investigation.

In the days that followed, police arrested more than 200 protesters, including the state’s only Black female legislator, Rep. Attica Scott; her 19-year-old daughter, Ashanti Scott; and organizer Shameka Parrish-Wright with the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

The curfew ended Monday night, though the increased police presence and traffic restrictions downtown continued through Wednesday. Fischer said the curfew served its purpose to help keep people safe.

But civil rights advocates and protesters say the city’s actions served another purpose: they suppressed speech, and appeared to target protesters not for what they did, but for what they had to say about the Mayor’s office and LMPD’s handling of the Breonna Taylor case and subsequent protests.

“I truly believe that the curfew was a setup,” said Attica Scott. “It was a way to try and harass and incarcerate as many people as they could.”

In response to questions about the fairness of the curfew and arrests, a spokeswoman for the mayor said the curfew applied to all of Jefferson County — “and most businesses and residents complied with the order.”

“LMPD practice has been to give warnings on curfew violations and ask people to head home,” said city spokesperson said Jessica Wethington. “Arrests come when multiple warnings are ignored.”

Protesting Police Brutality

Ashanti Scott assumed when she was arrested last week that the charge was a curfew violation.

It wasn’t until she was sitting inside a holding cell with her mother and Parrish-Wright that she learned she and the others in her group were charged with rioting, a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison, she said.

Minutes before curfew on Thursday, Scott, her mother and Parrish-Wright left their car and walked about three blocks toward the First Unitarian Church, which offered protesters sanctuary.

They were stopped by a line of police on Fourth Street who prevented them from entering the church and told them to turn around. They did, then police encircled and arrested them.

Louisville Metro Police said officers arrived on the scene to arrest people who had smashed a window and thrown a flare into the Louisville Free Public Library. LMPD said in an arrest report Scott and others were part of a large group that caused damage to the library and did not follow orders to disperse.

“Subjects caused extensive damage at multiple locations including setting fire to the Louisville Public Library,” the report states.

However, Scott’s own livestream shows she was on the opposite side of the library from where the damage occurred. The livestream shows her walking with a group, getting surrounded and then told to sit on a curb.

“To try to accuse me of setting fire to the downtown library in the district that I serve, District 41, that I fought for funding for, just goes to show they were grasping at straws,” Scott said.

Police charged them rioting, unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

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