A Kentucky legislator who was arrested during demonstrations about the Breonna Taylor case accused Louisville police of detaining her and about 20 allies on false pretences on Sunday and called for charges to be dropped.
State Representative Attica Scott, the only Black woman in the Kentucky legislature, was arrested along with her 19-year-old daughter, prominent activist Shameka Parrish-Wright and others on Thursday during protests against a grand jury decision on Wednesday to clear police of homicide charges in the shooting death of Taylor.
Louisville has become the latest flashpoint in US protests against racism and police brutality, following months of demonstrations that erupted after the May 25 death of George Floyd when a Minnesota police officer knelt on his neck.
The Louisville Metro Police Department did not immediately respond to a phone message and emails sent to spokesmen seeking a response to allegations by Scott, who is the main sponsor of the proposed “Breonna’s Law” that would expand police oversight.
“It felt like retaliation,” Scott told Reuters News Agency after a news conference. “They knew exactly who I was when I got to the jail.”
A group of about 20 protesters intended to obey a 9pm curfew and reach a designated sanctuary when they were met by a line of police, said Scott, whose account is supported by video she posted on social media.
Scott, her daughter and Parrish-Wright were held overnight on charges of felony first-degree rioting, which carries a sentence of one to five years in prison, in addition to the misdemeanour offences of failure to disperse and unlawful assembly, police said.
She said police accused her of vandalising the library, which she called “absurd” considering her public position on libraries and a statement by the library workers union defending her as a “vocal supporter for libraries”.
“How dare LMPD say that I was trying to burn down our library,” Scott said. “Come up with some better lies.”
Protests intensified in Louisville and other US cities following Wednesday’s announcement that a grand jury would not bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal March 13 shooting of Taylor in her home during a botched execution of a search warrant.
Instead, one officer was charged with wanton endangerment for stray bullets that struck a neighbouring apartment.