Louisville declares state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision expected soon
The city of Louisville, KY instituted measures over the last 24 hours, including declaring a state of emergency, as it waits for a grand jury decision in the case of Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death during a no-knock raid in March. The grand jury is deliberating on whether to bring charges against the officers involved in the raid.
So far the city is restricting access to the downtown area and erecting barricades.
“In a 3:30 a.m. release, a department spokesman said in order to keep downtown safe for ‘those coming downtown to express their First Amendment Rights, as well as those who live and work in the area,’ police are putting up vehicle barricades around Jefferson Square Park (the site of ongoing protests) and across the downtown perimeter and will restrict access even further near the park, with only pedestrian access allowed,” says the Louisville Courier-Journal.
It’s unknown how long the grand jury deliberation will take.
One community organization is urging downtown businesses to take precautions now, including removing outside tables, trash cans and anything that can be used as a missile from the streets. They are also urging people who work downtown to work from home.
“Our goal with these steps is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights, & to prepare for any eventuality to keep everyone safe,” tweeted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
The city has also instituted a traffic restriction plan for all vehicles, including canceling some bus routes until after the expected protests end.
Many downtown buildings have been shut down, including the Federal Court and Customs House and the Immigration and Naturalization Service field office.
“The Gene Snyder United States Courthouse will be closed to the public through Friday September 25, according to an order by Greg Stivers, the chief US District Court judge for Western Kentucky. All scheduled in-court appearances will be continued or converted to videoconference proceedings at the discretion of the presiding judge, the order says,” reports CNN.
“The courthouse’s windows were boarded up on Monday.”
So are the windows of many other downtown businesses. Photos on Twitter show a variety of businesses as if prepared for a hurricane, including one downtown gas station that has plastic wrapped its gas pumps.
The Louisville Police Department has so far refused to take action against the officers involved in the shooting, although it says its internal affairs division is still investigating. This week a judge refused a request from the Louisville Courier-Journal to force police to turn over records from the investigation, citing the ongoing internal investigation.
That hasn’t stopped Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R), who is the first Black Attorney General in the history of Kentucky, from sending the case to the grand jury.
Grand jury testimony is highly secretive, allowing for jurors to make decisions on criminal indictments free from public pressure.
PHOTO: Bryan Woolston/Reuters
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