Video appeared to show gunshots ring out during a massive protest in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, demanding justice for the death of Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was killed by police in a botched raid.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in the Kentucky city, calling for the officers involved in Taylor’s death to face charges. She was killed during a March 13 raid at her home in which narcotics officers reportedly broke through the door of their home without announcing that they were officers. Taylor’s boyfriend fired at them, not realizing they were police officers, WAVE reported.
As the report noted, protesters gathered for several hours outside the Jefferson County Courthouse, calling for arrests and chanting, “No justice, no peace, prosecute police!” and “Breonna, Breonna, Breonna!”
Shots ring out (not sure what kind, or by whom) as tensions escalate at a large downtown Louisville protest. @WDRBNews is at 6th and Jefferson with @TravisRagsdale @ChadKMills and @HaydenWDRB reporting pic.twitter.com/OOlcaSxVRD
— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) May 29, 2020
Video from the protests late on Thursday showed shots ring out, thought it was not clear who fired or whether anyone was injured.
As WDRB reported, police put out a statement at close to 10:30 p.m. local time on Thursday asking for the public to avoid the area where the protest was starting to turn violent.
“We are currently working a large crowd in the downtown area around 2nd Street. Please help us get a request out to the public to avoid the area until further notice,” a department spokesperson said.
Taylor’s death has sparked outrage both in Louisville and across the country, with many calling on police officers to face discipline or criminal charges for killing the unarmed woman. They had initially charged her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, with attempted murder after he fired on police officers, but the charges were later dropped.
Many criticized the delay in dropping the charges, which did not come until after a national outcry against police.
“Kenneth Walker and Breonna Taylor did everything right the night police ambushed their home,” attorneys Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker said after charges were dropped, via WDRB. “While dismissing the charges is the right thing to do, it comes more than two months after Breonna was killed and Kenneth was arrested. Louisville police spent these months defending their actions and smearing Kenneth’s and Breonna’s good names. This is just another step to the LMPD taking full responsibility for its actions.”
The protests in Louisville took place at the same time as tensions erupted in the Minnesota Twin Cities in the wake of the death of George Floyd following his arrest. Protesters there took over the police precinct where officers involved in Floyd’s death were stationed, setting fire to the building and several surrounding buildings.
As WDRB reported, many of the protesters in Louisville demanding justice for Taylor also made reference to Floyd’s killing.