Kentucky’s only Black female legislator arrested on felony rioting charge at Breonna Taylor protest

Kentucky’s only Black female legislator arrested on felony rioting charge at Breonna Taylor protest

As the only Black female representative in the Kentucky Capitol, state Rep. Attica Scott (D) took action after the death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police raiding her home in March. In August, Scott proposed Breonna’s Law, a bill that would end no-knock warrants statewide. And when a grand jury decided not to indict the officers for Taylor’s death, Scott joined hundreds of protesters in the streets of Louisville.

On Thursday night, Louisville police arrested Scott along with a handful of other protesters near First Unitarian Church and the Louisville Free Public Library, which had allegedly been set on fire, according to a police report reviewed by WAVE. The state representative received a felony charge of first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for failure to disperse and unlawful assembly, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. It is unclear if Scott was released on bail or is still in custody.

Louisville police arrested at least 24 people Thursday night, the department said in a Facebook post. In a news conference on Thursday, interim police chief Robert Schroeder said authorities arrested 127 people on Wednesday night.

The protests began on Wednesday after the three officers involved in the Taylor’s fatal shooting were not indicted for her death. A grand jury in Jefferson County, Ky., instead indicted Brett Hankison, a former Louisville police detective who was fired in June, with three charges of wanton endangerment in the first degree. The verdict meant the former detective endangered the lives of Taylor’s neighbors by firing the rounds.

The verdict came as a blow to activists and protesters, who have spent months demanding that the officers who fired on Taylor be charged in her death.

Scott has been among the loudest political voices in Kentucky calling for police accountability. In an interview with NPR this week, she said that justice “is hardly ever served when it’s police officers murdering Black people.”

“Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott added. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

Scott, who has been a state representative since 2017, pre-filed a bill to end no-knock search warrants on Aug. 16. “Breonna’s Law,” which would force police to knock and verbally announce themselves, also requires a judge to approve the use of violent entry when issuing the warrant. Additionally, officers would have to activate their body cameras when serving the warrant.

“Five minutes before you serve that warrant, and five minutes after, those body cameras better be on,” Scott said when announcing the bill in August.

Scott also included a provision that police must be screened for drug and alcohol following a deadly incident or after firing their gun while on duty.

“Frankly, I’m surprised this is not already standard operating procedure,” Scott said in a news release announcing Breonna’s Law.

It is unclear if, or when, the Kentucky House will vote on “Breonna’s Law.”

Two months before Scott brought the legislation to the state level, Louisville city council unanimously voted to ban no-knock warrants.

“The bill that I have filed, Breonna’s Law for Kentucky, has to pass,” Scott said to NPR. “It has to pass so that what happened in the case of Breonna Taylor does not happen again — that we have to get policy change because this system will not change unless the policies reflect what the people are demanding.”

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