Louisville’s community is strong and united.
Yesterday, I caught a press conference in Louisville from 502 Live Streamer, Tara Bassette. There is so much happening all around the country with police violence, police corruption, and the blatant robbing of American citizen’s first amendment rights. Watching streams and activists all over the country, I’ve come to realize that every town is fighting the same battles with law enforcement. In every city across America, people are fighting for their Constitutional rights. Louisville is one city that has not backed down, they have stood strong and they haven’t given up.
The press conference yesterday was led by Shameka L. Parrish-Wright, part of Kentucky Alliance Against Racist And Political Repression. Parrish-Wright is also the Louisville Site Manager at the Bail Project. Joining her were a few lawyers and a few protesters who had been arrested over the summer.
How many have been arrested?
Over the last several months, Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) has arrested over 700 protesters, many of them who were simply exercising their first amendment rights. On top of the arrests, many of them have been charged with felony rioting. A large majority of them are Black.
This is a blatant act by LMPD to hurt the Black community. This is the reason the entire country is protesting. By charging these individuals with felonies, the repercussions are meant to hurt them for their entire lives. It’s hard to get a job or rent an apartment if you have a felony on your record.
The entire justice system in America has been set up to cripple Black Americans from having a fair and equal shot in America. Systematic racism has been hurting and killing for decades. This is why in every city from Louisville to Los Angeles people have taken to the streets. Enough is enough.
Yet, when LMPD and Louisville officials could have used this moment in time to help heal and progress their city, they went the opposite direction. They found a way to accelerate it while simultaneously stripping their citizens of their Constitutional rights.
During one of these protests, Kentucky’s only Black female legislator, Attica Scott, was arrested and charged with felony riot. However, it was clear that the only thing she was actually guilty of was engaging in an action that was granted to her in the first amendment, the right to peacefully assemble.
LMPD wants to use unconstitutional curfews to target the Black community and their allies, round them up, and then charge them with felonies like rioting, unlawful assembly, and obstructing a highway. If the first amendment grants people the right to peacefully assemble, implementing a curfew, and then calling the peaceful assembly unlawful at 9:01 PM is a direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States of America.
We are seeing police departments all over America use the term “unlawful assembly” as a way to stop Black liberation. Currently, I am unaware of any SCOTUS case which will put this to an end, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw one within the next year.
After Attica Scott’s arrest, a bill was filed in the Kentucky State Legislator to redefine what “rioting,” means. As of right now, rioting in Kentucky can be used in the case of being out past curfew, while someone you are not with and have never seen is committing vandalism, you can be charged in connection with the vandal simply for being out that time of night.
The community has really stepped up.
During yesterday’s press conference, with the lawyers spoke, they mentioned that there are 112 lawyers from various firms and organizations all working for free to help get these trumped-up charges dropped against the protesters. One-hundred and twelve. That only further shows that what the LMPD is attempting to do to those seeking justice for Breonna Taylor. If LMPD was in the right, there would be no way 112 lawyers would be working for free.
One of the lawyers who spoke, Tracy Davis, put it eloquently when she said helping these protesters get equal justice is her activism.
Today is Day #147 in Louisville’s plight for justice and equality, Louisville Metro Council is to be voting on police reforms, specifically as it relates to police brutality. Louisville Police Chief, Yvette Gentry, has already tried to block these reforms. Changing the way that police operate in Louisville and around America will ultimately save countless Black and brown lives.
The Revolution is happening in Louisville and we’re all here to Witness it. Keep an eye out on Revolution Witness’ Facebook page for updates from Louisville and beyond.