Louisville Police Preparing For Announcement In Breonna Taylor Case
Louisville police are blocking the area around the MetroSafe building and setting up no-parking zones downtown in advance of an announcement by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and subsequent protests, regarding the Breonna Taylor case.
Cameron is expected to say soon whether officers who were a part of the fatal raid on Taylor's apartment in March will face criminal charges.
Robert Schroeder, the interim Louisville Metro Police chief who is set to retire next month, declared a state of emergency for the department, and canceled days off and vacation days indefinitely, according to dual memos sent to the department Monday.
"In anticipation of Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s announcement in the Breonna Taylor case, I am declaring a state of emergency for the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD)," Schroeder wrote in one special order. "To ensure we have the appropriate level of staffing to provide for public safety services and our policing functions, effective immediately the LMPD will operate under the emergency staffing and reporting guidelines as outlined in the Standard Operating Procedures, Emergency Response Plan, and collective bargaining agreements until further notice."
In an emailed statement, LMPD spokesman Lamont Washington said there is no timetable for the announcement.
"The public may also see barriers being staged around downtown, which is another part of our preparations," Washington wrote.
Downtown federal buildings are closed this week, a move also believed to be in anticipation of Cameron's announcement. The Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator's office on West Market Street also closed for the week.
By Monday evening, parking meters near the Central Business District were covered with "No stopping any time" signs. A city employee who did not give his name said he had gotten orders to put up the signs late Monday afternoon.
Here’s what Louisville looks like in downtown ahead of the Cameron decision. police have set up a checkpoint to get on fifth street but say it is only this block around the building that is blocked. Won’t let me pass. Investigating more of downtown in this thread. pic.twitter.com/KfioFagxrR— Ryan Van Velzer (@RyanVanVelzer) September 21, 2020
The parking restrictions will take effect after the announcement, and will cover the area bounded by Second Street, Ninth Street, Market Street and Broadway, according to a post on LMPD's Facebook page. The signs posted Monday do not say what time or date the restrictions go into effect.
Gov. Andy Beshear answered questions about deploying the Kentucky National Guard to Louisville in his Monday evening COVID-19 press briefing. He said he received a "general request" last week for the National Guard but had not deployed members yet.
Jean Porter, a spokesperson for Mayor Greg Fischer, said the city has been in touch with different groups for assistance. She didn't immediately respond to a question regarding who other than the Guard they contacted.
"We have been in communication with the Guard and other local, state and federal partners for assistance as we plan for the possibility of large gatherings after the Attorney General’s announcement," Porter wrote in an email. "With regard to KNG, the Governor has been clear that he would only authorize them for specific and critical missions that relate to public safety and critical infrastructure."
Porter said the partners include the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky State Police, the FBI and "other local police agencies."
Beshear said if the Guard and the Kentucky State Police are deployed, they would "engage in limited, specific missions where they would be under their own command. They would be in support of LMPD and that would be role that we would play, if needed."
Beshear previously sent Guard members to Louisville in late May, as protests began in Louisville over the police killing of Taylor. They participated with LMPD in an operation to break up a West End gathering after midnight on June 1, during which a Guard member shot and killed barbecue shop owner David McAtee. His estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Louisville police officers and Kentucky Guard members on Monday.
This story has been updated.
WFPL Producer Michelle Tyrene Johnson and reporter Ryan Van Velzer contributed to this story.