Charges dismissed against arrested protester punched by LMPD officer on video

By |2021-07-27T12:23:50-04:00July 27th, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

A protester who was repeatedly punched in the face by a Louisville Metro Police officer during an April arrest caught on video saw his charges from the incident dismissed last week.Denorver "Dee" Garrett was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on April 18 as he was protesting with his signature cross near Jefferson Square Park, the epicenter of the justice for Breonna Taylor movement in downtown Louisville, that Sunday afternoon.Court records show both counts against Garrett were dismissed July 21.A representative of County Attorney Mike O'Connell's office did not immediately return a request for comment about the reason for dismissal.But Garrett's attorney says he knows why."They knew it was an unwinnable case," David Mour said Tuesday morning. "There's not even any probable cause to believe this man did anything (illegal). If anything, he's a victim of a crime. He was assaulted by these police officers, and then to make matters worse, he was arrested and falsely charged with crimes in order to cover up their crimes."In a video clip of the arrest, an officer is seen attempting to handcuff Garrett before he and another officer forced him to the ground. The initial officer then punched Garrett in the face four times, breaking his glasses.According to the arrest citation, Garrett "was causing a disturbance" in the middle of the street for about 30 minutes before he was arrested and he "resisted the officers' movements to put his hands together close enough to put handcuffs on. He was given loud verbal commands to stop resisting … which he did not follow."Mour, who was present during the arrest, said officers used what he calls the "push me, pull me" maneuver in which an officer standing on each side rocks the individual they are arresting back and forth and then tells them to stop resisting."They've done it hundreds of times in the protest movement," Mour said. "Most of the resisting arrest charges have been dismissed because they're not resisting arrest."A July analysis by The Courier Journal of more than 1,000 protest-related arrests from May 2020 through May 2021 found nearly 600 cases had been dismissed.Defendants pleaded guilty or were convicted in about 100 cases, with many sentenced to volunteer work. Hundreds more cases remain pending.Mour likened the actions of the officers involved in Garrett's beating and arrest to that of Cory Evans, the ex-LMPD officer federally charged with striking a kneeling protester in the back of the head. Evans is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 4."These guys had Dee restrained on the ground and were mercilessly punching him in the face," Mour said. "One is no worse than the other, so if Cory Evans deserves it, so do these guys."Mour is also representing Garrett in a civil suit against the LMPD officer they believe punched Garrett. LMPD has not publicly named the officers involved.The suit, filed in April, accuses Officer Aaron Ambers of civil battery, unlawful imprisonment and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.Mour now plans to add Officer Marc Christiansen, who was listed on Garrett's arrest citation, and the other officers on scene who didn't intervene, and will also amend the complaint to allege abuse of process, malicious prosecution and civil conspiracy."There were two sergeants standing there, knowing what was going on, watching them do it," Mour said, "watching them violate someone's constitutional, civil and human rights, violate Kentucky law, violate the Constitution. They stood there and did nothing. These people should never be police officers."The video of Garrett's arrest spread online quickly, prompting LMPD Chief Erika Shields to release a statement saying it "raises serious questions and is not consistent with LMPD training."Shields opened an internal investigation into the officer's conduct as well as the on-scene supervisor. LMPD did not immediately respond to Courier Journal questions about the investigation's status Tuesday morning.Metro Councilman Jecorey Arthur urged Shields and Mayor Greg Fischer to fire all of the officers involved in Garrett's arrest, saying they violated the city's use-of-force policy.Reach Tessa Duvall at and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall.

Police and community must partner to stop the violence

By |2021-07-27T14:25:19-04:00July 27th, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

By Rev. Ira Acree and David Cherry Another bloody weekend in Chicago has left 10 people dead among 70 shooting victims. This brings our grim 2021 totals to 450 people murdered with 2,500 people shot.  The gun violence isn’t limited to Chicago, with more than 14,000 people killed through gun violence across the United States so far this year. How did we get here? Violence isn’t a new problem, but there is no doubt that the isolation and marginalization of poor communities worsened during the pandemic. Adding to the already existing racial tensions were nearly an entire nation at home watching the 9-minute video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling the life out of George Floyd in May 2020. A country of people largely under quarantine erupted in anger on the streets to protest this barbaric murder.  In addition to Floyd, there were the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and countless other police shootings across the country that sparked a justifiable national movement on the issue of justice and police accountability.  The contentious debate over the role of police in our communities – including whether to increase funding or defund police departments – has continued as we also address the sharp increase in gun violence. These heated and often emotional arguments are on full display here in Chicago. Our city has our own long list of outrageous police killings including innocent women such as Rakia Boyd and Bettie Jones and teenagers such as Quintonio Legrier and Laquan McDonald. Each one of these shooting deaths brought large numbers of protestors into the streets in righteous calls for justice. These shootings – and others – is why the Illinois attorney general’s office is working with the Chicago Police Department to enforce a consent decree with the intention of bringing dramatic change with how police officers interact with Black and Latinx communities. What does this have to do with the current high rate of violence?  Tensions between police officers and communities of color are an impediment toward stopping the violence. When people don’t trust the police, they won’t cooperate with them when they witness acts of violence. Police who feel they are in a community of people who hate them will remain in full retreat and will not be proactive with getting to know the community to keep children and adults safe. As respect for the police disappears, gunmen of all ages become emboldened, and we see the results of this in the daily statistics.  All of us who desire a safe and civilized society lose in this climate of distrust. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown is the right person for this job.  He understands what it’s like to lose a son who was killed by police in Dallas; he also understands what it’s like to lose police officers in the line of duty in Dallas and Chicago.  Just before both of us marched with Brown last Saturday in Austin, our superintendent had a plea for the people thinking about committing acts of violence. “Forgive your conflicts,” Brown said. “Let that young man you are planning to kill tonight – let him live.” Brown has asked faith leaders for prayers. All faith and community leaders – and all Chicagoans – should give this man of faith our prayers and support. Many people say that it is impossible to reform the police, especially considering the racist history with how police departments were originally formed as slave patrols. We cannot deny this historical fact. But what’s also true is that there are many police officers of all races who joined the department to make life better for the people in all of our communities. Brown is committed to doing everything in his power to transform the Chicago Police Department. If he is successful, he will create the conditions necessary for the police and the community to finally be on the same team in the quest to stop the violence and create safer streets. It’s time to end the carnage of our innocent children, women and men getting gun down on our streets every day and year after year.  Let’s all work together to reform and/or renew and reimagine policing in our communities and create a safer and more peaceful future for Chicago. Rev. Ira Acree is co-chair of the Leaders Network and senior pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church; David Cherry is president of the Leaders Network.

We need Attica Scott's 'bold leadership' in Washington now. Here's why

By |2021-07-27T14:25:21-04:00July 27th, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

“Her reasons for running largely centered around the fact that she’s a Black woman who grew up poor. And, by extension, that Yarmuth isn’t a Black woman and has never been poor. But beyond that, the three-term state representative really didn’t say much.” — Joe Gerth, Courier Journal columnistColumnist Joe Gerth usually has a keen eye and a compassionate ear. He demonstrated that over this past year in some of his writing about the movement fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor.But his framing of state Rep. Attica Scott’s announcement that she will enter the primary for Kentucky's Third Congressional District missed the essence of Scott’s motivation and purpose for running. And in doing so, he failed to recognize that there has been, as Rep. Scott has said, “a shift … happening all over our country.”That shift is rooted in the growing understanding that to address the most intractable problems we face in this country, those whose lives are closest to the pain created by those problems are the ones closest to the solutions. And when we take an inventory of the most critical human needs people in Louisville have, Scott’s lived experience as a Black woman who knows what it is to grow up in poverty gives her a much broader and deeper knowledge of those needs than a wealthy white man who has grown up in privilege no matter how decent or caring that man is.More:Who is Attica Scott? What to know about Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth's opponentDuring her press conference Scott shared that she “grew up in the Beecher Terrace housing projects. I experienced busing and went to school with kids from the East End, South End and West End. My mother struggled with addiction. She died from an overdose when I was 16 and my brother was 12. My father was trapped in the cycle of incarceration.”What are those issues then that Rep. Scott has experienced firsthand? Among them are the lack of safe, affordable housing; the ongoing disparities and lack of equity in our public school systems; the inadequate health care system that limits access to mental health support and treatment for substance abuse; and the devastating impact of the “war on drugs” and its corollary, militarized police and mass incarceration.What is clear about each of these problems is that they disproportionately impact Black and Brown people in this country. As an example, 5% of illicit drug users are African American, yet African Americans represent 29% of those arrested and 33% of those incarcerated for drug offenses. African Americans and white people use drugs at similar rates, but the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is almost six times that of whites. And Black women are bearing the brunt of this racist system getting incarcerated at the fastest growing rate of any segment of the population.What’s also clear, however, is that whether it is housing, education, health care or criminal justice, the systems that are structured so that Black and Brown people are negatively impacted the most also effect poor and working class white people as well. So whether we are joining together in community coalitions to create policy changes or going to the ballot box to elect our representatives, it benefits all of us to look at those issues through an anti-racist lens. Racism hurts everyone.Racial justice:Why most protesters arrested by Louisville police will never be convicted of a crimeFrom this perspective, Scott is the logical choice to send to Congress to represent the Third Congressional District in Kentucky. Yet for Mr. Gerth, the timing is wrong. Of course, there has rarely been a moment in history when those challenging the status quo have not been told to wait. This is historically true when it comes to challenging racism.No one is calling Yarmuth a racist. He is a decent and kind man who did all of us a favor by defeating Anne Northup 15 years ago as a political novice and has served honorably. But he is not entitled to keep his seat “just because.” As Scott has said, “now is the time to choose bold leadership over complacency.”  Voters, she says, “need someone with a broad vision who can address many issues beyond the admittedly important federal budget.”Based on her lived experiences as a Black woman, Attica Scott has not only provided leadership in Frankfort as a three-term legislator but she has also stood with the people in the streets of our city who believe in a more just community that works for all of us. We need that kind of leadership in Washington.David Lott is an activist with Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice and the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. 

60 years of activism: From the Freedom Rides to BLM, generations discuss work, parallels

By |2021-07-27T08:22:31-04:00July 27th, 2021|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

JACKSON, Miss. — Fred Douglas Moore Clark Sr. remembers lying on the concrete floor of a Mississippi State Penitentiary cell in Parchman, sucking in fresh air from a crack below the cell door. It soothed his lungs, rattling with pneumonia. No sheets. No blankets. No toilet. The cell bare but dense with Mississippi humidity. He said his cellmate told him what people hadn’t dared say too loudly. “We’re gonna die in here.”The cellblock was full of Freedom Riders arrested May 24, 1961 at a Jackson bus station. It was a stop through the South on organized bus trips to show interstate transit terminals remained segregated after the United States Supreme Court ruled the segregation unconstitutional in Boynton v. Virginia the previous year. Clark had worn his best suit that day. A thick wool number. He’d intended to purchase a bus ticket and make his way to New Orleans. Within minutes, police entered the station, handcuffed Clark and 26 others. Only 18, Clark was arrested for inciting a riot and breaching the peace.   For weeks, he saw people dragged out of Parchman cells by their feet. The chorus of freedom songs sung by prisoners was the only sound that drowned out the fear racing through Clark’s mind during the 45 days he’d spend behind bars until they were ordered to stop.Some 60 years later on a cloudless July afternoon, Zoe Bambara, 19, was held in a cell block with 20 others and a small window at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.She’d made her way to Louisville, Kentucky, where Breonna Taylor had been fatally shot by police four months earlier. But Louisville protests were unlike the peaceful daytime gathering she helped organize in her Atlanta hometown. At night, a crowd looted businesses, shattered windows and fired guns as the summer sun dipped below the horizon. Police officers responded with tear gas and rounds of rubber bullets. Bambara didn't back down.During a July 15, 2020, demonstration on Kentucky Atty. Gen. Daniel Cameron’s front lawn, Bambara’s hands were zip-tied behind her back as she was arrested alongside dozens of protesters. Less than a day later, she was released. Bambara and Clark,amid different movements, were young activists stepping into their own. Six decades separate their arrests, but some wonder if they're really so different.Activism in America has never happened overnight. Social movements aren’t turned on by a light switch. They’re powered by decades of sacrifice and organized actions. Activists today walk in the footsteps of people at the forefront of the civil rights movement and the many unnamed who risked their lives for the generations before them to be treated equally. Sixty years ago, Black Americans demanded change. They wanted to be treated equally while being educated, while walking through the world, while getting a drink of water. Now, social justice activists work to end police brutality, gain legislative seats, increase access to good schools, challenge restrictive voting rights, reform prisons and seek equal rights for people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and those living with disabilities.  The breadth of modern-day activism wouldn't be possible without the fortitude of civil rights activists generations ago. Some say the experiences aren’t comparable.But the activists are. They are tired. Angry. Persistent. Natural-born leaders and organizers. They want equality. Change. Justice and accountability. And they’re willing to sacrifice their lives so others can walk free. Asked to assess the difference between those who worked so hard 60 years ago and those who worked so hard last year, one older activist summed it nicely: Everything has changed but nothing has changed. From the Freedom Rides to 2021Bernard Lafayette, who turns 81 on July 29, tells his stories of activism calmly from his Tuskegee, Alabama, home. But his tone changes when he talks about the Greyhound bus idling into Montgomery, Alabama, on May 20, 1961. The Freedom Riders walked down the steps into a violent crowd littered with Ku Klux Klan members. Lafayette's then-college roommate, John Lewis, was struck with a Coca-Cola crate. Lafayette, then 20, was kicked in the ribs. William Barbee was slammed onto the pavement, then a lead pipe was jammed into his ear. Lafayette never threw a punch. It’s what he’d been trained to do. Respond with nonviolence. Since then, progress was made, Lafayette knows this. America, by law, is desegregated. But he knows this, too: Equality remains elusive. Summer 2020 activists, protesting back-to-back police killings of Black people, were still met with police brutality. Rubber bullets ricocheted off people’s limbs and faces. Police cruisers drove into throngs of protesters. Safety for young activists was no more guaranteed today than it was 60 years ago.  Young activists are impressing Lafayette. Particularly women — who were largely uncredited during the Civil Rights Movement — who have made their way to the forefront of today’s activism circles.  Women like Brea Baker. Baker is 27 and living in Atlanta. She can’t put a finger on the day she was called to social justice. Everything blurs for her. But the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin was a clear call to action. Martin was fatally shot in Florida on Feb. 26, 2012 by a neighborhood watch coordinator, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman would later be acquitted for the shooting, claiming self-defense and effectively employing the protections offered in Florida's stand-your-ground law.“I was just an angry kid then,” Baker said.She took her teenage fury and began to channel it. Her anger matured into organized activism.  “Young people have always been central to any social justice movement throughout history,” said Daphne Chamberlain, Tougaloo College assistant provost and professor of history. “These are young people who were socially conscious of what was going on and paying attention to what was going on.” Baker became the youngest national organizer at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C., where the streets were flooded with hundreds of thousands enraged and emboldened after former President Donald Trump's election.  A year later, she contributed to the 2018 school walkouts to protest gun violence after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He killed 17 people. “We had people from all over the country, even in some international locations, walking out of their schools to protest gun violence,” Baker said. “People said, “Oh my gosh, how did you get a million kids to do that?” Baker and other organizers looked back to the Children’s Crusade of 1963, which brought more than 1,000 Birmingham students out of their schools and into the streets in to protest segregation. Sure, she used new technology and now ubiquitous social media to her advantage. Her voice rippled through social platforms faster than if she had relied on the U.S. postal service or the evening news hour. It’s not that different from 60 years ago. The Birmingham Children’s Crusade was organized by a local radio DJ, Chamberlain said. Today’s world, with messages spread in nanoseconds, is just more expedient.  A simple tweet can speak volumes to young people. It brought hundreds of thousands out in the summer of 2020 to protest police killings of Black people around the nation. But activists and historians alike will say the work begins the day after any march, because the number of those who will go on to challenge legislation, make it to city meetings and call their representatives, is far smaller.The parallels of activists 60 years ago are strong. The Freedom Riders and Black Lives Matter movement share a common denominator. “When there’s no recognition of a person’s dignity or humanity, when there are basic human rights that are being denied, that’s what prompts people to action,” Chamberlain, said. Even before the Freedom Riders, young people saw themselves in the likes of Emmett Till before he was lynched by two white men in Money, Mississippi, in 1955. Now, young people look at the police killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown.  For many, the sacrifice to dedicate a life to activism is too much. It’s long hours. Little pay. A constant push and pull. “It just comes with the territory,” Baker said. A mother raising activistsA Northern Kentucky mother of two teenage girls heard George Floyd’s cries for his momma as police officer Derek Chauvin pinned his knee into Floyd’s neck. “He called every mother out that day,” Chris Brown, 40, said. Brown was sick of seeing Black people killed in the streets. She acted on instinct and a mother’s love. She whipped out a pen and paper and began to plan a march. It took Brown only four days to pull together a march in Elsmere, Kentucky, that took hundreds of people down one of the town's main roads, Dixie Highway.  Brown didn’t stop there. “There’s a soul-cry that happens when you’re an activist, and it’s nothing that you just wake up one morning and say, 'Today, I’m going to be an activist,’” Brown said. “It’s a fighting instinct. You’re willing to fight for who needs your support, even if it’s to the deficit of yourself.” Brown’s words carry weight and power in Elsmere that activists who came before her, Rosa Parks, Diane Nash and Ella Baker, never had. But when she traveled nearly two hours south to Louisville last summer, the tension there is how she imagined 1960s activism felt. The sun beat down relentlessly on the marchers. Police officers in Louisville carried batons and tear gas; some were posted alongside armored military vehicles. It was nothing like law enforcement back home. She kept thinking to herself: “We’re not even armed.” Around 60 people went to jail that day, Brown said, remembering them seated in an intersection near the famous racetrack Churchill Downs. She knows it wasn’t the same violence the Freedom Riders met in 1961. Ku Klux Klan members weren’t beating activists. Her mode of transportation wasn’t manipulated or left to burn. She would travel safely back home that same day with her teenage daughters. Still, the powerlessness was palpable.The work is far from over. It won’t happen in Brown’s lifetime, she says. But Brown knows one thing when she looks into the eyes of her two daughters: Activists tend to raise activists. Shifting the face of politicsIt was theRev. Darryl Gray who speculated about the six decades of activism since the Freedom Rides, saying: “Everything has changed, but nothing has changed.” He would know. He’s spent the past half century as an activist. He’d take to marches and boycotts. Become a politics reporter. Start up a Black newspaper. Work as Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s national director of communications. Take an executive position at the NAACP in Atlanta. After 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, unrest tore through the nation. Gray called it "the new Selma."He didn’t think activists had done enough. But Gray knew someone who was putting in the work: Cori Bush. She’d worked as a frontline protester from the very beginning.  Bush came to Gray when she wanted to start a Southern Christian Leadership Conference chapter in St. Louis, Missouri. But it wasn’t long until she told him to put it on hold.  “I want to run for the Senate,” Bush told Gray, adding she wanted to challenge Jason Kander in the 2016 primary election. Bush had no political experience back then. She had no deep pockets to run a campaign. She was a registered nurse. A mother of two. A Black woman who was going to finish what she started.But Gray didn’t miss a beat. He’d serve as her campaign manager.Bush lost to Kander in 2016.Four years later, she would be voted in as the representative of Missouri's 1st Congressional District.About this seriesSixty years ago, the first Freedom Riders departed on their journey through the South to challenge segregated buses, bus terminals, lunch counters and other facilities associated with interstate travel. These activists would be confronted, often violently, by police and mobs of white citizens, drawing international attention to social inequity in what became a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. This year, the USA TODAY Network is examining the legacy of these trailblazers and how it informs our current moment.Sarah Haselhorst can be reached at, on Twitter at @HaselhorstSarah or call 601-331-9307.

Louisville native Jamon Brown retires from football, helping build empowerment center

By |2021-07-26T20:20:33-04:00July 26th, 2021|Breonna Taylor, COVID-19, David McAtee|

The UofL grad and six-year NFL veteran said he wants to focus on helping his community. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jamon Brown sat back in a stool at the SuperChefs bar and thought for a moment. The former University of Louisville standout considered what he would tell a younger version of himself after 62 NFL games over six seasons. "No one man is an island," Brown said. "So you must draw your strength from others." The 28-year-old carries that quote from a former offensive line coach as he enters retirement from football. Brown said he started thinking about this decision after the Atlanta Falcons released him last August.   The offensive lineman was drafted by the then St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, later playing for the New York Giants, Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. He finished his sixth and final year in the NFL with Philadelphia, who released him from their practice squad following a violation of team rules in December 2020. Then in January, he had a second child, further pushing him to hang up his cleats. "When you're in the league, you never know when that time is going to come," Brown said. "Football is time-consuming. And I was in the space of how do you want to go about the next year?" The answer to that comes off of the field. The West End native was very involved in protests surrounding the police killings of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, which further sparked his desire to help the community more. He has also participated in a conference call with Louisville's FBI field office and spoken with Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer. All of this started to weigh on him during his last NFL season. "That's when I kind of shifted my focus," Brown said. "I was focusing on football and of course focusing on the preparation. But our city had been hit with some tragedy, man. So I was trying to figure out, like always, how do I help? That really kind of woke me up and I marched into a new mindset: bringing light, opportunity and change in ways that we need it." It's been a goal of the Fern Creek High School alumnus ever since becoming a pro. He's spearheaded the Jamon Brown Foundation, which aims "to impact the lives of those struggling with poverty, violence, and youth homelessness, to improve upon the education and healthy living issues that are typically prevalent in at-risk areas, while influencing others to do the same." Most recently, Brown received ESPN Louisville’s ESPY Humanitarian Hometown Hero award for his work in the community last year. He's worked with the Coalition for the Homeless, started a fundraiser for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and more. "Football was my legacy," Brown said. "But it's not anything that I can pass to my son or anything anyone else could really grab ahold of and use for their benefit. That's where the opportunity to shift out of that and then leave significance for other people's lives became more interesting to me." Be the change you can see!!— Jamon Brown (@JB_The_GREAT_68) June 30, 2020 His next step in doing that is opening what he calls an empowerment center in the West End. Brown's foundation is partnering with Russell: A Place of Promise and Cities United to build the facility that will feature educational, recreational and professional resources for those in need. "There's a lot of tradition that goes on down there," Brown said. "The things that really trigger me about that is the lack of light. When I look in that neighborhood, there's not a movie theater. There's not a skating rink. There's not different luxuries that you see in other parts of the community." Brown grew up on 39th Street with his mother and two siblings. While walking down the street and showing it to WHAS11, many memories rush back to his mind: being chased by dogs through a couple of alleys, needing to print Dragon Ball Z pictures off at the nearby Shawnee Library because he didn't have a color printer and throwing lackluster progress reports in a neighbor's yard them to hide from his family. "I don't know mom, I didn't get mine," Brown recalled with a laugh. "My brother got his, my sister got hers. But for some reason, our class didn't get ours." When Brown visited with WHAS11, he was stopped by a man asking who he was. After explaining his transition from the NFL to retirement, Brown was asked for help. "It ain't just because of who you are, it's where you're from," the man said. "You know how it is." Brown understood, giving the man his phone number. He said he wants more people to come and take that walk around his neighborhood to see what he sees: people who take pride in their home and what needs to be done to help them. "There is friendliness, there is camaraderie," Brown said. "But the necessities that are really needed to help the community flourish are what's lacking." It brings him back to that quote sticking in his head: "No one man is an island. So you must draw your strength from others." As he enters this next phase of his life, Brown is acting to demonstrate what it means.  "Build the team that you have now," Brown said. "And that's what I have. That's what helped me feel confident in transitioning and walking away from football." WHAS11 will have more on Brown's story at 11 p.m. RELATED: A scoop of love, a sprinkle of kindness: Local company, NFL player Jamon Brown tackle community needs in West Louisville RELATED: UofL baseball's Henry Davis makes history; becomes school's first No. 1 overall pick in MLB Draft [embedded content] ►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users. 

'Boogaloo Bois' member sentenced for causing riots during Louisville protests

By |2021-07-26T18:24:50-04:00July 26th, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An extremist militia member was sentenced in federal court for his part in inciting riots in Louisville.John Subleski is said to be a member of the ‘Boogaloo Bois,’ according to FBI investigators. As part of his crimes, Subleski admitted to shooting at an SUV on Main and 2nd Streets during protests in the summer of 2020 in response to the death of Breonna Taylor.The FBI’s criminal complaint against Subleski state that he had plans to storm LMPD and other local government buildings. The documents included pictures of him in tactical gear, holding long guns, and pointing a rifle from his Louisville apartment window at unsuspecting targets below. He was also known for wearing a vest that said “security” during protests.(Story continues below photo)The FBI arrested two men identified as members of two militia groups that took part in violent riots in downtown Louisville last summer, WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters learned Thursday.As part of his plea agreement, Subleski admitted to promoting violence during the protests.Subleski received credit for his time served in prison, as well as three years of supervised release. He also had to surrender his guns, tactical equipment, and ammunition as part of his sentence.Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

Local artist sues LMPD claiming he was assaulted by officers while trying to leave protest

By |2021-07-26T16:24:32-04:00July 26th, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A man filed a federal lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department, claiming officers beat him while he was attempting to obey their orders during a protest last year.The federal complaint, filed last week in the U.S. Western District of Kentucky, claims Aron Conaway was attempting to turn his scooter around on Bardstown Road when officers attacked him and charged him with a series of crimes. Conaway, a local artist that painted the Breonna Taylor mural often seen in Jefferson Square park, said he was not taking part in the protest on Bardstown Road on Sept. 23 and instead was handing out food to protestors. "I had pulled up and been there maybe 2-3 minutes, tops," Conaway said in an interview Monday. "I got my key in the ignition, and an officer came and yelled at me to leave. He pushed my handlebars back, and I turned the wheel and started to pull away."Protests began Sept. 23 after it was announced that no officers would be charged with a crime in relation to the killing of Taylor. Video posted to twitter by Julio Rosas on Townhall Media appears to show Conaway on his red scooter. Officers begin to advance on the group when an officers falls near Conaway's scooter. Soon thereafter, a number of officers are seen taking Conaway to the ground.The BLM crowd was marching in the street until they were stopped by Louisville police in riot gear. The police moved in and rioters started to fight with the police and arrests have been made.— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) September 23, 2020"Got picked up, dropped, broke my rib," Conaway said. "Another officer grabbed my neck. I kept my hands and knees on the ground. Told them they were hurting me, they were punching and hitting me."The lawsuit claims Conaway was also sprayed with "chemical agents" by officers. "After Defendants zip-tied Plaintiff's wrists and had him pinned to the ground, another unknown LMPD officer walked up and sprayed Plaintiff directly in the face," the lawsuit claims. LMPD does not comment on pending litigation.Conaway said he broke a rib and hurt his shoulder in the incident. He said he's lost work because of the injuries. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary compensation.  Aron Conaway Conaway was initially charged with wanton endangerment of a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. All the charges were dropped in April. An initial police report written by officer "J. Berg" claimed Conaway "struck officer with listed scooter as he attempted to break through (special response team) formation."The complaint names Louisville Metro Government, Mayor Greg Fischer, former interim police Chief Robert Schroeder and former assistant Chief Lavita Chavous as defendants. Berg is also named as a defendant."We feel like there is a complete lack of funding and training for these officers," attorney Jeff Gorski said. "These officers are being put in situations that they are not trained of educated on."The lawsuit claims Conaway had to seek extensive medical treatment for his injuries. Johnson and Gorski said they are now in the process of trying to get body camera video from the officers involved. Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

Poll finds most Americans oppose no-knock warrants — and their demands are leading to reform

By |2021-07-26T15:23:58-04:00July 26th, 2021|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

Research indicates that 20,000-80,000 no-knock warrants are conducted by police each year and that their use per year has increased from just a few hundred in 1972, to 3,000 in the early 1980s, to 30,000 in 1996, to 40,000 in 2001. But what does the public think of their use?No-knock raids gained momentum with the development of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams in the late 1960s, trained to act quickly and use overwhelming force to address especially dangerous situations. Police departments particularly in L.A. and other cities, sought similar military tactics and equipment in response to civil unrest. Meanwhile, the War on Drugs, revitalized under the Reagan administration, spurred a significant rise in SWAT raids, the use of paramilitary equipment, and the number of no-knock raids used in pursuit of illegal drugs.Between the War on Drugs and the militarization of policing, no-knock warrants have become routine for police departments across the country. Although designed for the most egregious crimes, no-knock warrants are most commonly used in pursuit of narcotics, with 60 percent of SWAT raids in pursuit of drugs. In addition to the overwhelming force and paramilitary equipment, such as battering rams, flashbang grenades, and automatic weapons, no-knock raids are often conducted at night. Between 2010 and 2016, 94 civilians and 13 police officers were killed due to dynamic entries. An estimated 8 to 10 cases per year result in the death of an innocent civilian as a result of a no-knock warrant.In March 2020, officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), executing a no-knock warrant in pursuit of drugs, fatally shot Breonna Taylor. No drugs were found in her apartment and the primary suspect was already in custody at the time of the search. With no onsite paramedics, Taylor was given no medical attention for 20 minutes. Taylor’s death sparked national demands for police reform. By June 2020, the Louisville Metro Council passed “Breonna’s Law,” banning no-knock warrants in the city. By February 2021, the state legislature passed Kentucky Senate Bill 4 (SB4), which restricts the time frame in which no-knock warrants can be executed and limits the circumstances allowing for an unannounced entry. Additionally, emergency medical technicians are required to be on-site when any no-knock warrant is executed.Despite broad public support for banning no-knock warrants, few states have acted, with most no-knock bans are initiated by municipalities. In fact, Lexington, Kentucky’s second largest city, just voted to ban no-knock warrants.To unpack public perceptions on no-knock warrants, we conducted an original web survey of 625 American citizens on June 24-26 via Qualtrics, using quota sampling.Respondents were first asked to evaluate the statement, “I support no-knock warrants.”Overall, a plurality of total respondents (43.2 percent) said they disagree with the statement. Although we see greater opposition among Democrat and Black respondents compared to Republican and white counterparts, we see a plurality in opposition across groups. Meanwhile, among most groups, those supportive and those indifferent were of equal size. Such indifference could be attributed respondents preferring more context before accepting or rejecting a common police tactic.Next, respondents were randomly assigned one of six prompts to evaluate.Version 1:  No-knock warrants are justifiable.Version 2:  No-knock warrants are justifiable in drug possession cases.Version 3:  No-knock warrants are justifiable in human trafficking cases.Version 4:  No-knock warrants are justifiable in murder cases.Version 5:  No-knock warrants are justifiable in terrorism cases.Version 6:  No-knock warrants are justifiable in cases like Breonna Taylor’s.Here, we found more support for no-knock warrants under particular instances, with a majority indicating such warrants are justifiable in cases involving human trafficking (66.35 percent) and terrorism (59.05 percent). Interestingly, respondents indicated more support for no-knock warrants in drug possession cases (44.66 percent) than in murder cases (41.9 percent).Overall, we find a tacit acknowledgement for when no-knock warrants may be appropriate in limited circumstances, but also that high-profile tragedies, like Breonna Taylor’s, decrease public support for police tactics. For example, Louisville Metro Council’s decision to ban no-knock warrants was unanimous after the tactic resulted in the death of a local civilian. The survey results have implications for future police reform. As tragedies due to no-knock warrants continue to occur, civilians fear the possibility of similar incidents in their own communities.Since Taylor’s death, more than 84 proposals across 33 states have been introduced that would restrict or ban no-knock warrants. Kentucky’s SB4 is one such proposal. We provided respondents information about SB4, then asked, “Do you think this is an effective measure of reducing fatal encounters when police execute no-knock warrants?” We found 64.48 percent of total respondents answered “yes,” with similar rates among Democrats (64.66 percent) and Republicans (63.35 percent). Such broad bipartisan support suggests that similar reform to reduce fatal encounters with police is possible in other states.Louisville Metro Council’s swift actions to ban no-knock warrants undoubtedly motivated the Kentucky state legislature as well as other states and cities to pursue legislation reforming police use of no-knock warrants. Although SB4 does not completely ban no-knock warrants, many argue it is a step in the right direction for the future of police reform. Continued discussion among the public is a critical step in passing reform. Such is evident in the city of Lexington’s decision to ban no-knock warrants after more than three hours of public debate. Civilian demands at local and state levels to end the use of no-knock warrants only opens further discussion about police accountability and possible national reform.Isabel Pergande is an honors undergraduate researcher at Western Kentucky University, majoring in Political Science and History. Jason Herlick is an honors undergraduate researcher at Western Kentucky University, majoring in Political Science and International Affairs.Timothy S. Rich is an associate professor of political science at Western Kentucky University and director of the International Public Opinion Lab (IPOL). His research focuses on public opinion and electoral politics.Funding for this survey was provided by the Mahurin Honors College at Western Kentucky University.

Louisville man accused of resisting arrest has charges dropped

By |2021-07-26T06:24:47-04:00July 26th, 2021|Breonna Taylor|

Charges dropped, but it’s still not enough. Words used by Louisville attorney David Mour who is representing Denorver Garrett, a protester seen on camera repeatedly being punched by an LMPD officer during his arrest earlier this year.Garrett claims on April 18 he was protesting for Breonna Taylor at Jefferson Square Park, while holding a cross. That’s when he said LMPD officers approached him, telling him he was under arrest for being a disturbance to the public. "He told me put my hands behind my back," said Garrett. "So that's what I did."However, it was not sufficient enough for the officers, who thought he was resisting arrest. The officers then took matters into their own hands, tackling him to the ground before striking him with a closed fist multiple times."That moment, that day, changed my life," said Garrett."They were fed up with us marching and protesting, but I could've been the next George Floyd."For 93 days after the incident Garrett became a victim on social media, with some people saying he was to blame, using the charges against him as proof. However, on the 94th day, the roles changed."My lawyer told me they're dropping the charges," said Garrett. "I thought to myself, well something good can come from the system. It gives me hope, but, it's not over."Garrett and his lawyer already filed a lawsuit against the officer who punched him, but now they're going after every single officer in the video. Attempting to charge them for battery, assault, false arrest, malicious prosecution and more. Garrett said it’s the least they can do, after they targeted him for no reason."You can't judge a book by its cover," said Garrett. "You have to open the book to get the true understanding. I'm not the only person that's like this. I am not the only person that's been done wrong by the system, there's a lot more."On Monday, Aug. 2, Mour said he will officially file a motion to add more officers to the already active lawsuit. He said when it comes to this situation, he believes justice was served, but said there's more justice to come. He said he will not stop until either guilty verdicts or a settlement is reached.WLKY reached out to LMPD, but they declined to comment on the case as it's still under investigation by the Professional Standards Unit. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Charges dropped, but it’s still not enough. Words used by Louisville attorney David Mour who is representing Denorver Garrett, a protester seen on camera repeatedly being punched by an LMPD officer during his arrest earlier this year.Garrett claims on April 18 he was protesting for Breonna Taylor at Jefferson Square Park, while holding a cross. That’s when he said LMPD officers approached him, telling him he was under arrest for being a disturbance to the public.

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