Louisville, Q. – Hundreds of protesters marched on the Churchill Downs racetrack on Saturday, demanding the end of racial justice and police brutality as the Kentucky Derby proceedings began.
Protesters signaled “no justice, no derby” and “an end to the war on us.”
Tiffany Morris said she went to Atlanta to show solidarity for the family of 26-year-old Brona Taylor, when a black emergency medical technician was killed in a police raid on her home.
It’s been six months, and no arrests have been made, Morris said. “Now is the time for us to take to the streets and protest peacefully, as we do all summer. This has been the independence of 2020.”
On Saturday, protesters and rivals from armed white military groups clashed in Jefferson Square Park amid a large police presence, including the state National Guard and state police.
Some protesters chanted “Brona Taylor” while opponents chanted “USA.”
The confrontation seemed tense but largely peaceful. It broke down with the arrival of police in the gear of the storm.
Protests were expected on Saturday by other groups, including the Not F *** England Around Coalition, the Armed Black Militia, and the White Angry Vikings, an armed group seeking to show support for law enforcement.
“We’re ready to express their first-aid rights for others,” said Lavita Chavez, deputy chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department. We don’t know how big this crowd will be, but we intend not to interfere in the legal opposition which is not. Violent. ”
He said fences are erected around Churchill Downs every year for crowd management.
Some residents criticized the law enforcement’s readiness for the demonstrations, calling it excessive.
Pastor Timothy Findley Jr. said Friday that to get out here and see the armed vehicles, it’s ridiculous to see the road around miles of fencing.
Morris said the demonstration of force showed the division between the police and the protesters.
“They see us as the enemy,” he said.
The tension has been high For months the state attorney general in Louisville has been investigating Taylor’s death, and some residents have said the holding of the Kentucky derby is insensitive and disrupted by ongoing demands for justice. (NBC televises Derby every year.)
Some protesters called for the cancellation of the Kentucky Derby this year.
“We find it reprehensible that our city wants to move forward like everything else,” said Katie Duvall, a 37-year-old Louisville resident. “We have been protesting for 100 days and nothing has happened except the dismissal of an officer in connection with the Bre Taylor.”
Churchill Downs issued Statement On Thursday, he defended his decision to move on with the race but acknowledged concerns about injustice.
“Churchill Downs is committed to engaging in a strong dialogue in our city, in our sport and in our own organization,” the statement said. We are committed to taking real, concrete action to address and play our part in advancing the development of the institutional path. America desperately needs change. “
“Racial justice is a goal we all support. And we support the right to first amendment. We must balance the right to protest with our essential duty to protect public safety,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Wednesday.
Alicia Victoria Lozano Contributed.
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