Attica Scott, the Only Black Woman in Kentucky's State Legislature, Arrested for Felony Rioting During Breonna Taylor Protest

Illustration for article titled Attica Scott, the Only Black Woman in Kentuckys State Legislature, Arrested for Felony Rioting During Breonna Taylor Protest
Photo: Bryan Woolston (AP)

People continued marching through the streets of Louisville Thursday night to protest the meager charges brought against the Louisville Metro Police department in the killing of Breonna Taylor. Among them was one Rep. Attica Scott (D), the only Black female representative in Kentucky’s state legislature and the lawmaker who has proposed the state’s most substantive police reform since Taylor’s death.

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On Thursday night, Scott, along with a handful of other protesters, was arrested and charged with first-degree rioting, a felony, and two misdemeanors for failure to disperse and unlawful assembly, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

According to the Washington Post, which cited reports from WAVE, Scott and the other protesters were arrested near the First Unitarian Church and the Louisville Free Public Library, which a police report alleged had been set on fire. Louisville-based reporter Ryan Van Velzer captured Scott’s arrest on video. In the background, voices can be heard shouting Scott’s name and occupation to police, while another person yelled to the lawmaker, “We love you!”

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Also arrested were Scott’s daughter, Ashanti Scott, and prominent local activist Shameka Parrish-Wright, who leads the Louisville chapter of the Bail Project, an organization that has helped detained protesters post bond.

Shortly after Scott and Parrish-Wright’s arrest on Thursday night, State Rep. Josie Raymond called for them to be released.

“If you arrest the loudest voices fighting racial injustice in Louisville, we have to believe you want to silence the fight against racial injustice,” Raymond wrote on Twitter.

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Online court records show Scott and Parrish-Wright were released from Louisville Metro Corrections on Friday on personal recognizance bonds, which do not require a cash payment. They are both scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 6. According to police, 24 protesters were arrested on Thursday night.

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In the wake of Taylor’s killing, Scott has called for increased police accountability at the state level. In August, she sought to expand Louisville’s “Breonna’s law,” which bans “no-knock warrants,” to apply throughout the state. The legislation she proposed would also mandate that a judge approve the use of forced entry when serving a warrant, and that in those instances, officers must have their body cameras on.

In addition, Scott’s version of “Breonna’s Law” would require police be screened for drug and alcohol after any deadly incident or use of their firearm on duty.

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Scott was among many who expressed anger at the grand jury’s decision to charge one former Louisville officer who fatally shot Taylor, Brett Hankison, with three counts of wanton endangerment. Those charges were not related to Taylor’s killing, but the danger Hankison posed to Taylor’s neighbors, none of whom were actually shot on the night LMPD raided Taylor’s apartment.

“Justice also is hardly ever served when it’s police officers murdering Black people,” Scott told NPR after the charges were announced Wednesday. “And so we are clear that 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. And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

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An increasing number of people have called for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who led the investigation into Taylor’s killing, to release the evidence presented to the grand jury, reports HuffPost. This includes Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Senate candidate Amy McGrath, who is running against Sen. Mitch McConnell in the November election.

“Breonna’s family and Kentucky deserve to know what happened the night she was killed,” McGrath tweeted Thursday afternoon. “The fact that the grand jury did not even consider charges in the events that led to her death created confusion and anger.”

Staff writer, The Root.

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DISCUSSION

eddie-brannan
Eddie-Brannan

It had never occured to me that police should be screened for alcohol/drugs after fatal shootings, but it makes enormous sense. Drivers involved in fatal collisions are always screened, and if a police officer takes a life the same should apply to them.