Protesters for racial justice Anti-protesters from armed white militias faced each other in Louisville on Saturday ahead of the Kentucky Derby.
The confrontation at Jefferson Square Park in Kentucky City took place in the presence of large police forces, including the State National Guard and State Police.
At the scene, some protesters shouted “Breona Taylor,” the name of a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was shot in a police raid, while protesters repeated “America.”
The confrontation seemed tense, but mostly peaceful. It was dismantled when police equipped with riot gear arrived.
Thousands of protesters were expected to march peacefully outside Churchill Downs. Kentucky Derby She demanded justice from Taylor, who was killed in a police raid at her home last March.
In addition, an armed black militia, a group called Not F***ing Around Coalition (NFAC), also said it was planning a demonstration.
An armed white Angry Viking group also said it would show support to the police.
Louisville Metro Police Department Deputy Commissioner LaVita Chavous said: “We are ready for others to express their first amendment rights. We don’t know how big this crowd is, but we don’t want to get involved in legitimate protests that aren’t violent.”
She also said that fencing around Churchill Downs is an annual event for crowd management.
However, some residents have criticized law enforcement’s excessive readiness for protests.
Pastor Timothy Findley Jr said Friday, “It’s ridiculous to come out here and see the armored car, and see the fence over miles.
Tension was still high As the state attorney general continues to investigate Taylor’s death, for months in Louisville, some residents say having a Kentucky derby is a numb and hinders the ongoing demand for justice. (NBC airs derby every year.)
Some protesters demanding Breonna Taylor’s justice have called for Kentucky Derby’s cancellation this year.
Churchill Downs statement Thursday defended the decision to continue the race, but acknowledged concerns about injustice.
The statement stated, “Churchill Downs is committed to engaging in difficult dialogue within our cities, sports and their own organizations. We take practical and specific steps to address institutional barriers to development and to play our role in progression. We are doing our best to take it, the change the United States desperately needs.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Wednesday, “Race justice is a goal we all support. We support the right of the First Amendment. We must strike a balance between the right to protest and the essential obligation to protect public safety. I do.”