LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CN) — Tensions were high Saturday in Louisville as citizens once again came out to protest the lack of indictments against the officers accused of killing Breonna Taylor in her sleep.
On Sept. 23, a federal grand jury indicted one of the officers in the case with wanton endangerment for firing into a nearby apartment, but the other two officers involved in the case faced no charges.
Brett Hankinson, one of the officers involved, has lost his badge while the other officers were placed on administrative leave. Last week, the Louisville City Council unanimously voted to ban no-knock warrants as legislation banning no-knock warrants nationwide was recently introduced in the U.S. Congress.
Amira Bryant, a local from Louisville who has protested every day this week, said that the lack of charges against the officers left her feeling hopeless.
“My life as a Black woman doesn’t matter here. I knew it was coming,” she said.
Amira’s friend, who identified himself as Don X, said he also feels discouraged as a Black man, but that he hasn’t given up hope entirely. Instead, he said the rise of Black youth growing up to go to college and becoming politically engaged gives him hope.
“The number of people that are working, and going through school, and working to get into politics and become the system that is oppressing us so that we can change the system for ourselves, in our likeness, is what inspires me,” he said.
A man named Mike, who wore a police style flack vest emblazoned with the words Black Guns Matter, said he drove from Miami today to show his support.
“I feel as if things need to change,” he said. “We all need to come together, stand against injustice and do what’s right: which is to hold people accountable. And we’re gonna make noise until they do.”
Various factions of left leaning Americans came out to show their support for Breonna Taylor, including a group from The Coalition of Armed Laborers.
Bill Blizzard, a member of the Coalition of Armed Laborers came to Louisville from Florida with several other members. A self-identified firearms instructor, Bill and his group came armed, wearing military style flack vests emblazoned with anti-Nazi slogans.
“If we can help even out the power imbalance even a little bit by being here, then I’m happy to be here,” he said, referring not only to the heavy federal and police presence in the area, but also to the armed militia members who have frequently shown up to counter protest.
Several attendees mentioned the presence of militia groups like The Oath Keepers and III%ers on days leading up to Saturday, with many expressing concerns for their safety as a result.
Several major streets in the city were blockaded with military and police vehicles and concrete barricades. A high chain link fence was erected around Jefferson Park where the Breonna Taylor Memorial has been erected and where the site of the protests have been for the past several weeks.
Buildings throughout downtown were boarded up, with some hanging signs reading “Black Owned Business” on the plywood barricades, as if beseeching protesters to refrain from attacking their businesses.
Protesters marched peacefully Saturday evening, chanting “No justice, no peace.” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”
March leaders encouraged women, children and those afraid of being arrested to refrain from marching with them again as they feared arrest. The protesters planned on occupying the park for the night and possibly longer, with many camping out on the grass. The city has enforced a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., with a few local churches offering sanctuary.