Police have detained at least a dozen protesters in Louisville (Kentucky) on Wednesday, September 23, during confrontations between law enforcement officers and hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the city. According to reports, demonstrators gathered in Jefferson Square Park on Wednesday, ahead of the grand jury's decision which saw the indictment of only one police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March. Following the decision, protesters immediately began marching through the streets of the city. Clashes broke out between riot police and protesters, with police firing pepper balls and using wooden batons on those who refused to disperse.
In attempts to reduce the chance of unrest, a nightly curfew is in place between 21:00 and 06:00 (local time) between Wednesday, and Saturday, September 26. The National Guard has already been deployed to the area. Police declared a state of emergency in Louisville on Monday, September 21, ahead of the indictment. Authorities restricted access to the downtown area from Tuesday, September 22, erecting barricades around Jefferson Square Park and limiting access to the area between Market and Broadway streets, and 2nd Street and Roy Wilkins Avenue. Only pedestrians will be permitted to enter; vehicles are prohibited until further notice.
Reports also suggest that counter-protesters from far-right groups are also planning to gather and therefore further clashes between protest groups should be anticipated. A heightened security presence and associated disruptions should be anticipated at all protests.
On Wednesday, September 23, former police officer, Brett Hankison, was indicted and charged with "wanton endangerment" for his involvement in the fatal March 13 shooting of a 26-year old black woman, Breonna Taylor. Hankison was charged for firing into a neighbour's apartment, not with Breonna's death. Two other officers who were involved were not charged.
The death of Breonna Taylor during a police operation in March provoked unrest in Louisville. The protests are also linked to wider unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd whilst he was being arrested by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. The four arresting police officers were subsequently fired and detained, and one has since been charged with second-degree murder. Demonstrations have occurred in several cities across the US, with solidarity protests taking place throughout the world.
Those in Louisville are advised to monitor developments, avoid protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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