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Despite renewed calls, County Attorney unlikely to drop charges against protesters

Police monitor a group of protesters whom they've arrested outside of the Main Library in Louisville Thursday night.
Screenshot via LMPD Facebook
Police monitor a group of protesters whom they've arrested outside of the Main Library in Louisville Thursday night.

Racial justice advocates are calling on the Jefferson County Attorney’s office to drop all legal action against protesters from 2020. Their renewed demands follow the release of new information this week about the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor’s home. 

Federal court documents outline details that former Louisville Metro Police Detective Kelly Goodlett shared with prosecutors. In a plea agreement, she admitted to using false information in the warrant application for Taylor’s home and lying to cover it up afterward, among other things.

At a rally Wednesday, poet and spoken word artist Hannah Drake said LMPD’s lies and negligence are why people marched the city’s streets seeking justice for Taylor. 

“None of us would have been out here. None of us. We risked everything in a pandemic. Got sick, lost our friends, broken relationships, broken friendships,” Drake said. “We didn't break the contract with this city. Y’all are concerned about some broken windows. I'm concerned about the broken trust in this community. Every window is fixed…the city broke me. It broke everybody.”

Drake said the city’s actions and a lack of accountability carries a heavy toll with resounding consequences — including a number of lives lost. 

Breonna Taylor's dead. Kris Smith is dead. Travis Nagdy is dead. Tyler Gerth is dead. David McAtee is dead. Chris Wells is dead. How many more people are gonna die because of LMPD?”

Chris Will is one of thousands of people who marched the streets demanding justice for Taylor in 2020. He echoed Drake’s message during the gathering at Jefferson Square Park. 

“You can't call us thugs and losers and rioters because those rioters are in that building, right? The murderers are in that building right there. And all the charges need to be dropped,” Will said. “One lie started all of this. One lie. Deception, cover up after cover up…no transparency.”

In an email to WFPL News, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell said his office has conducted a review of the nearly 1,000 protest arrests. While he said prosecutors have dismissed most of the cases, the hundreds remaining don’t meet guidelines for dismissal. 

“They involve instances of violence or the threat of violence, destruction of property, or interference with streets and roadways,” O’Connell said. “We have or will make offers to resolve all remaining cases. We respect every person’s right to take their case to a jury if they so choose. We will be ready for trial and we will respect the determination of the jury.”

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