Kentucky legislator urges police to drop charges against her and fellow Breonna Taylor protesters

Kentucky legislator urges police to drop charges against her and fellow Breonna Taylor protesters

State Representative Attica Scott
State Representative Attica Scott speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo: AP/Darron Cummings)

LOUISVILLE: A Kentucky legislator who was arrested during demonstrations over the Breonna Taylor case accused Louisville police of detaining her and about 20 allies on false pretences on Sunday (Sep 27) and called for charges to be dropped.

State Representative Attica Scott, the only black woman in the Kentucky legislature, was arrested along with her 19-year-old daughter, prominent activist Shameka Parrish-Wright and others on Thursday during protests against a grand jury decision on Wednesday to clear police of homicide charges in the shooting death of Taylor.

Louisville has become the latest flashpoint in US protests against racism and police brutality.

Scott is the main sponsor of the proposed "Breonna's Law," which would require police body cameras and ban "no-knock" search warrants like the one secured before breaking through Taylor's door.

"It felt like retaliation," Scott said of her arrest, speaking by telephone after a news conference. "They knew exactly who I was when I got to the jail."

READ: In Breonna Taylor's neighbourhood, wounds of racism are raw

Police denied Scott was arrested in retaliation for her efforts to expand police oversight and said the case was in the hands of County Attorney Mike O'Connell.

"We can say that no charges were made in retaliation for anything," police spokesman Jessie Halladay said in an email.

National Guard soldiers prepare to clear Jefferson Square park
National Guard soldiers prepare to clear Jefferson Square park where demonstrators have assembled, during a protest after a grand jury decided not to bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, Kentuckyon  Sep 26, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

O'Connell's office did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on Sunday.

Scott, whose account is supported by video she posted on social media, said she and other intended to obey a 9pm curfew and reach a designated sanctuary when they were met by a line of police.

She was held overnight on charges of felony first-degree rioting, which carries a sentence of one to five years, and the misdemeanour offences of failure to disperse and unlawful assembly.

She said police accused her of vandalising the public library, which she called "absurd" considering her public position on libraries and a statement by the library workers union defending her as a "vocal supporter for libraries."

"How dare LMPD say that I was trying to burn down our library," Scott said. "Come up with some better lies."

Protests intensified in Louisville and other US cities following Wednesday's announcement that a grand jury would not bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal Mar 13 shooting of Taylor in her home during a botched execution of a search warrant.

Instead, one officer was charged with wanton endangerment for stray bullets that struck a neighboring apartment.

Source: Reuters/ec

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