LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The words “no justice, no peace” rang out across downtown Louisville all Sunday afternoon and into the evening as protesters marched peacefully through the streets. From the Hall of Justice to the Muhammad Ali Center, a crowd of a couple of hundred people kept chanting for justice for Breonna Taylor. Just after 8 p.m. well before the citywide 9 p.m. curfew, however, police deployed tear gas into the crowd to break it up.
The group protesting wants the officers involved in Taylor’s death to be fired, arrested, and charged with murder. That’s at least the immediate goal. Organizers urged those marching not to be violent nor to antagonize police.
“[Police] have batons. They have bullets. They have shields. They’re ready for war. They just need a reason, they just need one reason,” organizer Khalilah Collins said, “and when you give them one reason, the message is lost. When they start arguing and throwing gas, then our whole message of firing, and arresting and charging the police is lost.”
From the Ali Center, the group moved through Louisville past the jail, to circle back to Jefferson Square by the Hall of Justice. Passing the jail, knocks were heard banging against walls where inmates are held. The crowd enthusiastically chanted “Breonna Taylor” and stopped traffic.
Back onto the square, the people remained peaceful as law enforcement including the National Guard formed a perimeter around them. A warning was given; Spectrum News 1 was told by people moving from the area that officers said people not dispersing would be arrested. Moments later, loud pops sounded-off. The crowd ran frantically from the tear gas fumes.
Some that had been marching turned and angrily said toward police, they had still plenty of time left to protest before curfew and a right to be there.
From the opposite side of the police perimeter another Spectrum News 1 crew member, Khyati Patel, heard officers claim to be breaking up a group of Antifa with the tear gas; they thought someone may have been armed