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Breonna Taylor protest brings Black, white militias to Louisville

A group of armed, Black activists protested on Saturday. A white militia counter-protested.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hundreds of armed, predominantly Black, activists demanded justice for Breonna Taylor during peaceful demonstrations Saturday in her Kentucky hometown that drew counter-protesters from a white militia group.

Police closed streets and set up barricades to keep the two groups apart as tensions remained on edge in Louisville, where protests have flared for months over the death of Taylor, a Black woman killed when police busted into her apartment in March.

By the time Black activists dressed in black fatigues arrived in the heart of downtown Saturday afternoon, most of the white militia members had already left. Police in full riot geared looked on.

Earlier in the day, three people were accidentally shot at a park where Black activists had gathered, police said. The victims, all of whom were members of the militia group, were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

“This is a tragic situation that could have been much worse,” Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder said in a news release. “I encourage anyone choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights to do so responsibly.”

A supporter gives a bottle of water to a member of the "NFAC" during a march through downtown toward the Hall of Justice in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday. Hundreds of activists demanded justice for Breonna Taylor during the demonstrations in her hometown that drew counter-protesters from a white militia group. Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville apartment using a no-knock warrant during an investigation.
A supporter gives a bottle of water to a member of the "NFAC" during a march through downtown toward the Hall of Justice in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday. Hundreds of activists demanded justice for Breonna Taylor during the demonstrations in her hometown that drew counter-protesters from a white militia group. Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville apartment using a no-knock warrant during an investigation. [ TIMOTHY D. EASLEY | AP ]

The Black activists had converged on Louisville to demand justice for Taylor. Calls for a national reckoning over racism and police brutality intensified following the deaths of Taylor and George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“This is something that has been happening around the country for years and years and years,” said Brianna Wright, who joined in the demonstrations Saturday. “This is nothing new. The justice we get for her will influence justice around the entire country. And if we don’t get justice ... it will also influence the entire country. Because they’ll think, ‘It’s OK, we can get away with it.’ But we need to show them that Black people are not going to stand for this anymore.”

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor [ HANDOUT | TNS ]

The only confrontation among the competing groups appeared to occur earlier Saturday when white militia members and Black Lives Matter activists yelled at each other over the police barricades.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office is heading an investigation into Taylor’s death.

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The warrant to search her home was in connection with a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were found.

By Associated Press Writer Timothy D. Easley.

• • •

Coverage of local and national protests from the Tampa Bay Times

HOW TO SUPPORT: Whether you’re protesting or staying inside, here are ways to educate yourself and support black-owned businesses.

WHAT PROTESTERS WANT: Protesters explain what changes would make them feel like the movement is successful.

WHAT ARE NON-LETHAL AND LESS-LETHAL WEAPONS? A guide to what’s used in local and national protests.

WHAT ARE ARRESTED PROTESTERS CHARGED WITH? About half the charges filed have included unlawful assembly.

CAN YOU BE FIRED FOR PROTESTING? In Florida, you can. Learn more.

HEADING TO A PROTEST? How to protect eyes from teargas, pepper spray and rubber bullets.

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