After weeks of consecutive protesting over the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, the Louisville police department has banned protesters from demonstrating on public streets.
On Sunday (Aug. 9), the Louisville Metro Police Department announced that protesters will no longer be allowed to protest on the streets, only on the sidewalks. Jessie Halladay, a spokesperson for the department, said that this was done due to “an increase in aggressive behavior over the past week.”
Activists have responded to the new rule and said that the department is using it as an “intimidation factor” against their movement. They said that they will continue protesting until the three officers who were involved with Taylor’s death are charged and arrested.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky told the Courier Journal said that they had “serious concerns” about the department’s “sudden decision to restrict protest activity.” They also said that they will closely watch the Louisville Metro Police Department as they enforce this new rule.
“Over the past months, we have seen a pattern of overblown and inappropriate reactions to a community that is rightfully upset with its government’s delay in holding the police accountable,” ACLU spokeswoman Amber Duke told the outlet.
Following the announcement, protesters took to the streets to continue their planned demonstrations. Police used bullhorns to warn protesters to stay off of the streets. Several people were arrested and issued citations for obstructing the roadway and disorderly conduct.
Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith says she supports “creative protesting and innovative civil disobedience,” but says the streets “are intended for traffic to be able to move.”
“When we have people marching in the streets in a city bound up with one-way streets — it has made it impossible for other citizens exercising their right in the public right of way to drive down the street,” she said. “Where do you draw the line?”