Kentucky’s only black lawmaker arrested in Breonna Taylor protest

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Scott – who in August had previously tabled legislation to end the use of the Kentucky strike ban warrants, known as ‘Breonna’s Law’ – and his 19-year-old daughter Ashanti, were charged with illegal assembly, non-dispersal and riots, according to police records.

“I’m very traumatized,” Scott said. She says she is innocent of all charges and was peacefully seeking an authorized sanctuary in a church before curfew time.

Police say a group of protesters began “causing damage” in downtown Louisville – including smashing restaurant windows and throwing a flare at a library – ahead of the 9pm curfew throughout the county.

“Protesters went to the First Unitarian Church at 809 S 4th Street. People gathered on the property of the church, which allowed them to stay there because the curfew had expired, ”said a statement from the police department.

Scott says she was arrested at 8:58 p.m., two minutes before the curfew began, as she and other protesters crossed the street seeking refuge at the church.”How could I have broken the curfew before the curfew even started?” she asked.

The curfew, ordered by Mayor Greg Fischer Wednesday before Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a grand jury decision in the Taylor case, does not apply to those who surrender to the places of worship.

“On behalf of Breonna, neither I nor my teenage daughter who was arrested with me tried to burn down a library that our people need,” Scott said at a press conference earlier Friday morning. “These are ridiculous accusations being made on us. ”

Scott recorded video of herself walking towards Louisville’s First Unitarian Church, showing police officers and police vans on street corners as they passed a library on their way to the church.

Five minutes after the video began, Scott and other protesters were blocked by a group of police on the street between them and the church.

“Where do you want us to go?” The video shows Scott yelling at the police, some in riot gear. Three minutes later, an officer approaches Scott.

“Madame is your phone recording?” Said the officer.

“Yes, it’s true,” she replies.

“You might want to turn it off so it doesn’t break, okay?” Turn it off and put it in your pocket, okay? Okay, go ahead and put it in your pocket, I’m trying to be as nice as possible, ”the officer said before the end of the video.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, LMPD leader Robert Schroeder explained that an “illegal gathering” had been declared because members of a protest group began to damage property.

“Even though it was before the curfew, it means people have to disperse,” he said.

“An additional responsibility” to fight for justice

Scott beat a 34-year-old incumbent in 2016 to become the first black woman in nearly 20 years to serve in the Kentucky legislature. She says she is a certified anti-racism trainer and has a background in community organizing and civic engagement.

“That’s who I am deep down, so it’s natural,” she says of the protest, but the 48-year-old says she had never been arrested until Thursday night.

“I actively tried to never be in this position,” she says. When asked if she regretted being arrested with her daughter on Thursday evening, she replied: “Absolutely not”.

Thursday was not the first time Scott and Ashanti, a McConnell Fellow at the University of Louisville, have protested together.

Protesters raise their fists as they rally on the steps of Louisville Metro Hall on September 24, 2020.

Scott said the two were released on May 29, when the outcry over the shooting reached a boiling point. Gunshots erupted during protests in Louisville and an audio signal was played regarding Taylor’s boyfriend calling 911 the night she was killed.

“It was then that I decided to devote everything to seeking justice for her and with Breonna’s mother,” Scott said.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the grand jury would not indict any LMPD officer for the death of Breonna Taylor. Instead, a policeman who allegedly fired shots in his apartment was charged with gratuitous first degree endangerment, as some of the shots went to a neighboring apartment.

“I was, my heart broken, disappointed but not surprised,” she said when asked about the Jefferson County grand jury decision. “It’s just very clear that justice has not been served for Breonna Taylor, her family and the community. ”

“What’s really heartbreaking is my daughter said, ‘Mom, I wanted to be EMT to help people and see things on the ground but now I don’t know that’s the case, because being EMT did not save Breonna Taylor. ”

Scott plans to continue to protest.

“I’m a mom, I communicated with Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mother, and I have a responsibility as a woman, black woman, mother, to keep the fight going,” she said.

Scott spoke to CNN before joining Taylor’s family, their lawyers and social activists at a press conference that called on the Attorney General to release documents related to his office’s investigation into the case .

“This is just the start of our work to move from protest to politics,” she told CNN.

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