At least 68 peaceful protesters were arrested Tuesday evening (August 25) as they participated in a large march to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, CNN reports.
According to the news outlet, Robert Schroeder, interim chief for the Louisville, Kentucky Metro Police Department, told reporters a large number of protesters "crossed several intersections, creating dangerous situations as traffic continued to try to make its way in the area.” He added that those arrested would be charged with “obstructing the roadway and disorderly conduct,” according to CNN.
24-year old Ayaana Sabb, one of the people arrested while participating in the Until Freedom-led march, strongly disputes Schroeder’s telling of events. Saab, who says they were charged with “obstruction of a highway,” told Colorlines, “hundreds of armed officers in riot gear and blue lives matter paraphernalia” were waiting for the group to approach and blocked them from passing on the road.
“I was participating in a peaceful demonstration from [South Central Park] to [the Louisville Metro Police Training Academy] and back again,” Saab said. As the group approached a bridge along their route, demonstrators could see hundreds of officers waiting for them and blocking the path. “They would not let us pass in the street,” Saab said.
“Our goal wasn’t to takeover or remain on that bridge,” Saab insisted. “If they’d let us move, it’d have been clear.”
Tuesday’s protests were expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in the city since Taylor’s death. The EMT and aspiring nurse was killed in her own home in March when three plainclothes police officers executing a "no-knock" warrant returned gunfire after her boyfriend fired a warning shot because he thought he was shooting at intruders.
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, spoke to CNN this week and said she doesn’t understand why the investigation into her daughter’s death is still pending. "A lot of times you want to give up,” Palmer told CNN. “You want to walk away but I know she deserves justice.”
Until Freedom organizers told CNN they also plan to march for Breonna and interrupt the Kentucky Derby, scheduled for September 5 in Louisville.
Saab told Colorlines they were held in police custody for over 15 hours, and even spent hours shackled to a chain connected to 18 other protesters. “There was a lot of intimidation and power play at work,” they added.