5 Breonna Taylor protesters arrested as White man threatens to shoot them at restaurant amid Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: As several people marched to protest the killing of Breonna Taylor ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, five of them ended up getting arrested after an onlooking diner from a nearby restaurant pulled out a gun at the group.
A group of about 50 protesters walked by the entrance of Churchill Downs chanting, "We haven't forgotten Breonna." The protesters then ended up at La Chasse restaurant where a White man dining out on the patio suddenly pulled the firearm at the group. Video footage from the incident does not show if the man was threatened before he trained the gun at the group, but since Kentucky is an open carry state, he's in the clear with authorities. Cops had initially claimed at least one of the protesters was also armed.
Confrontation between patrons at La Chasse and protesters. pic.twitter.com/iUFKA9zWvY— Hayes Gardner (@HayesGardner) May 2, 2021
A clip shows the diner confronting the protesters amid chaotic yelling as bystanders record the video of the elderly White man pointing his gun at the crowd. He is seen nodding at the protesters as he responds to something unintelligible amid all the commotion as protesters call for action against the diner.
A foot chase commenced anyway and five of the protesters were arrested for what TMZ reveals were "all minor infractions that the police say are related to protesting... and failing to obey orders when they impeded on the restaurant's property and faced off with customers". The outlet also adds that the charges slammed against the five people range from "disregarding an officer's signals for directing traffic/fleeing, evading police and even hitchhiking to disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and possession of an open alcoholic beverage/possession of a handgun by a convicted felon".
The protest comes in the aftermath of Taylor's killers not being charged for fatally shooting her while barging into her home with a no-knock arrest warrant for drug-related charges on March 13, 2020. Last year's rescheduled Derby Day in September had seen mass protests featuring national groups such as Until Freedom and Not F****ing Coalition joining hundreds of other demonstrations and calling out the police for Taylor's death. Such a protest was not expected in this year's Derby but protests have been happening in Louiseville, Kentucky, in recent weeks, following the fatal shooting of another Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of an ex-Minnesota cop during a regular traffic stop.
The April 18 arrest of protester Lee Garrett who was punched four times by a Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officer had also sparked fury. Attorney General Daniel Cameron also announced this week that his office had instructed the grand jurors in Taylor's cases on possible homicide charges, but the jurors claimed otherwise. US Attorney General Merrick Garland had also revealed that the Department of Justice is opening an investigation into the LMPD to check for patterns and practices of unconstitutional enforcement.
But ahead of the 147th Derby, LMPD had claimed they were ready for any kind of protest that should take place. "The outer perimeter of the racetrack will be staffed as usual, primarily for traffic and pedestrian safety," LMPD spokeswoman Beth Ruoff had said earlier this week. "We are prepared for a large event, as we are every year, and for any security issues that may arise surrounding these gatherings."