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Black Lives Matter Holds ‘Healing Ceremony’ In Downtown Louisville

Ryland Barton

After three days of protests and police backlash, Black Lives Matter organizers in Louisville held a rally calling for Mayor Greg Fischer to fire officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor was shot in her home by Louisville police officers serving a “no-knock” warrant on March 13. The officers have been put on paid administrative leave.

Hundreds gathered for a “healing ceremony” hosted by Louisville’s Black Lives Matter on Sunday afternoon outside the Yum! Center in the city’s downtown.

Keturah Herron, an organizer with the ACLU of Kentucky, said that the city needs to fire the officers involved in the shooting to begin the healing process.

“We have put a lot of demands in. And right now we’ve got our foot on their necks. And we are not going to stop,” Herron said.

The group’s organizers are also calling for state and local leaders to pass laws ending “no-knock” warrants. Louisville temporarily banned the practice after outrage sparked by Taylor’s killing.

The rally came amid days of protests following the deaths of Taylor and George Floyd, a black man brutally killed by police outside of Minneapolis last week.

Following nights of vandalism, Fischer imposed a 9 p.m. until 6:30 am curfew, which has been enforced by the National Guard, Kentucky State Police and local police patrolling downtown Louisville.

Law enforcement has been firing teargas and pepper-filled pellets against protesters — actions that have drawn scrutiny and criticism from witnesses who say they have been retaliated against without warning for protesting peacefully.

State Rep. Charles Booker, a Democrat from Louisville who is running for U.S. Senate, called for police to join protesters in condemning police violence.

“We pay for your jobs. We are your family, too,” Booker said.

“Instead of being adversarial, instead of being confrontational and lining up like you’re going to beat us up over the head, lock arms up with us, demand accountability from your colleagues in law enforcement.”

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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