protests

Hundreds of thousands of people descended on the nation's capital and cities across the country over the weekend in continued demonstrations sparked by George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The protests were largely peaceful, and their meaning has extended beyond Floyd's fate to the larger issue of policing in America and police treatment of black Americans.

"Don't let the life of George Floyd be in vain," a county sheriff said at a memorial service for Floyd on Saturday in North Carolina.

Becca Schimmel

A crowd gathered in Bowling Green Friday to rally for racial equality and police accountability. The march was organized by the BG Freedom Walkers, a new community organization that has only existed for about a week. It was started by a group of friends and like-minded people who wanted to do something in response to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor being killed by police. 

Floyd died in Minneapolis after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Breonna Taylor was shot several times by Louisville Metro Police Officers who executed a no-knock warrant on her home. 

Hundreds of people came to the protest with homemade signs and marched from Circus Square Park to the Warren County Justice Center. 

Jess Clark

A historic Black church in Louisville’s Shelby Park neighborhood has suffered damage from gunfire in a shooting neighbors say happened around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday. No one was inside the church at the time of the shooting, and no injuries have been reported.

A spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) said authorities have “not ruled out” the possibility the shooting was racially motivated.

“We don’t know that definitively at this point, and certainly we haven’t ruled out that fact,” LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said.

Before she was a hashtag or a headline, before protesters around the country chanted her name, Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old woman who played cards with her aunts and fell asleep watching movies with friends.

That changed on March 13, when police officers executing a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night killed her in her apartment in Louisville, Ky.

Louisville, Ky., has been a center of protests after police shot and killed Breonna Taylor in March. A lot has happened in the city since then.

J. Tyler Franklin

Protesters have been calling for a statewide ban on no-knock warrants in Kentucky after a Louisville police raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26 year-old emergency room technician who was Black.

During a joint meeting of the Kentucky legislature’s judiciary committees on Thursday, lawmakers heard testimony about Taylor’s killing, racial discrimination and the massive protests that have taken place in Louisville and across the country.

Keturah Herron, with the ACLU of Kentucky and Black Lives Matter, said that lawmakers need to start passing laws that are “equal for all people.”

J. Tyler Franklin

On the night of the first protest in Louisville on May 28, Kayla Meisner and her boyfriend watched everything unfold downtown on the news. She said, for a long time, they talked about taking to the streets to demand change. But it’s also been scary. 

“Then we go [to the protests] Friday with the same mentality, this is something we’re fighting for, but we’re scared of this,” said Meisner, who is Black and works at the University of Louisville. 

Meisner thought the protests felt peaceful on Friday, but said things had “a totally different energy” when it got dark. 


Stephanie Wolf

Mayor Greg Fischer announced the immediate end of the city’s curfew Thursday afternoon after he said he’s heard concerns from law enforcement and citizens.

Fischer said there’s been a lot of comments on the curfew’s “inconveniences,” and the city’s inability to apply it evenly though all parts of the city. He apologized if protesters were caught up as law enforcement were trying to deal with threats of violence. He did not explain what that was in regard to.

He thanked those who have protested peacefully, and encouraged that to continue, but said criminal elements have been “hijacking” the purpose of the protests.

Rev. Rhondalyn Randolph

Members of Owensboro’s faith community are preparing to hold a rally to show solidarity against racism and police brutality. 

The event, which will take place downtown Thursday, follows demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.  The rally will also show support for the family of Breonna Taylor, a black Louisville woman fatally shot in her home by police serving a warrant. Rev. Rhondalyn Randolph, president of the Owensboro NAACP chapter, says faith leaders don’t condone the violence that’s taken place at some rallies.

“Violence, in the Word it says, begats violence and nothing good can come of it," Randolph said. "But there’s one thing we have gotten out of it, and that’s the attention to police brutality and racism that’s still prevalent in our country.”

Liam Niemeyer | WKMS

This story was updated at 1:15 p.m. to include information issued by the Murray Police Department

video posted to social media shows a man assaulting protesters with a chemical spray during an evening march on June 2 in Murray, in a second day of protests in the city related to the recent killings of unarmed black people across the country.

More than 50 protesters marched from a Confederate memorial featuring a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee aside the Calloway County courthouse, through the streets of Murray. Murray police cars escorted the protesters through the streets, with marchers disrupting traffic and holding signs with phrases including, “I can’t breathe,” and “Breonna Taylor,” the name of the black woman who was killed after Louisville police shot her in her apartment.

David McAtee, owner of Yaya's BBQ, was a beloved fixture in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville, Ky., remembered as a pillar of the community and known to give out his food free of charge, even to local police officers.

His death at the hands of law enforcement has come as a shock to those who knew him.

McAtee, a chef, was killed early Monday morning at his barbecue business when Louisville Metro Police Department officers and National Guard troops responded to reports of a crowd gathered after the city's 9 p.m. curfew near the corner of 26th Street and Broadway.

Colin Jackson

A midday protest against racism and police drew a crowd of around 180 people Wednesday morning in Bowling Green.

It was the latest in what has now been six straight days of peaceful gatherings in the city following last week's death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, a black man who died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The video-taped incident, along with the police-related death of Louisville Emergency Medical Technician Breonna Taylor, and the shooting of Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery, have spurred protests nationwide.

Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

Tennessee is sending about 1,000 National Guardsmen to Washington, D.C., to assist in the protests.

The nation’s capital has seen rioting as well as peaceful demonstrations against police brutality.

The announcement, made by Tennessee National Guard General Jeff Holmes on Tuesday, comes a day after guardsmen put down their riot shields at a peaceful rally against police brutality in Nashville.

 


Jacob Ryan | WFPL

David McAtee had a running joke with a group of young men that would frequent his small barbecue stand.

When the police would show up for a meal, the men would retreat inside the shop to avoid the officers. McAtee, though, would laugh and cut up with the officers, sneaking glances at the men taking cover inside.

Afterwards, McAtee would step into the shop, beaming with a big smile on his face, asking the men why they didn’t like good friends.

“I’d tell him, ‘What you mean, why I don’t like your friends?’” said one of the young men, who goes by Snow. “I don’t like the police.”

Eleanor Klibanoff

After five days of escalating clashes between police and protesters Louisville got a reprieve Tuesday night. Police seemed to pull back, allowing a crowd of hundreds to peacefully walk through the streets of the city unbothered. 

This apparent change of tactic follows the police killing of David McAtee, a west Louisville business owner shot around 12:15 a.m. Monday when Louisville Metro Police Department and the Kentucky National Guard arrived to break up a gathering after curfew. Officers from both LMPD and the National Guard fired at McAtee. Authorities released a video on Tuesday they allege shows McAtee fired first.

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