LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dispatches) — A second night of anti-racism protests got off to a tense but mostly peaceful start in Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday, a day after a grand jury decided not to bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
As a curfew went into effect after dark and police declared an unlawful assembly, hundreds of protesters who had marched through the city for hours retreated to the grounds of the First Unitarian Church, set aside by organizers as a sanctuary near the Ohio River waterfront.
Angry demonstrations and sporadic clashes between police and protesters in the hours following the grand jury announcement turned bloody late on Wednesday when two police officers on crowd-control duty were shot and wounded.
Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder, his department reinforced by state police and Kentucky National Guard troops, said he expected protests to continue for days, and a nighttime curfew was extended through the weekend.
"For all of us it is a very tense and emotional time,” Schroeder told a news conference on Thursday. Police said 127 arrests were made in the first night of protests, most for curfew violations or disobeying orders to disperse.
The protests began on Wednesday after the grand jury decided that none of the three white officers who collectively fired 32 gunshots as they stormed Breonna Taylor’s apartment would be charged with causing her death.
Taylor, 26, a Black emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse, was struck by six bullets moments after she and her fiance, Kenneth Walker, were roused from bed in the commotion of the raid.
The grand jury decision, announced by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, was immediately denounced by civil rights advocates as the latest miscarriage of justice in a U.S. law enforcement system corrupted by racial inequity.
Protests also flared on Wednesday in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, Oakland, Philadelphia, Denver and Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Buffalo, New York.
Taylor’s slaying initially drew little national attention. But it was thrust into prominence after George Floyd, a Black man arrested for a non-violent offense in Minneapolis, died under the knee of a white police officer on May 25, igniting a summer of protests against racial injustice and excessive police force.
On Thursday evening in Louisville, a throng of protesters was seen by a Reuters journalist confronting a group of about 15 armed individuals dressed in military-style gear who identified themselves as members of the Oath Keepers, an organization associated with the militia movement.
Cop Rides Bike Over
An American police officer was captured on video riding his bicycle over the head of an anti-racism demonstrator in the U.S. city of Seattle, Washington.
The video of the incident went viral in the early hours of Thursday,
showing a Seattle police officer rolling the front and rear tires of his bicycle over a protester’s head and neck area as the man was lying on the ground in downtown Seattle.
It remains unclear if the man was seriously injured since he was wearing a helmet.
The Seattle Police Department said in a statement that the officer has been placed on administrative leave and his actions are being investigated as more than 30 complaints have been received about this violent incident.
More shocking footage emerged showing a pickup truck hitting a woman after plowing into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Los Angeles.
The chaos unfolded after nightfall Thursday on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood as hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists swarmed the streets in Hollywood, Los Angeles as the protests against police brutality were galvanized by the lack of murder charges in Taylor’s case.
A video emerged online showing the truck flooring a protester, who stands right in front of the vehicle while brandishing a placard.
Footage from the ground as well as a KTLA-TV news chopper shows a black pickup truck plowing into the crowd, striking a woman and throwing her to the pavement.
Other footage shows an angry crowd banging on the door on the driver’s side, trying to pry it open. At that point the truck accelerates and breaks through, sparking a frantic chase.
In a separate incident, protesters chased down and smashed the windows of a car after the driver tried to get through a crowd.
Trump Confronted by Protesters
President Donald Trump was greeted with jeers and boos by a nearby crowd on Thursday as he visited the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump, wearing a black face mask and accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, stood near the casket at the marble court building amid chants of "Vote him out.” The moment highlighted the public flashpoint that Ginsburg’s death has become ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
The Republican president, who has already installed two top court picks since taking office in 2017, has said he would unveil his latest choice on Saturday, a week after the 87-year-old justice died on Sept. 18.
His decision to move quickly on a replacement just six weeks before the election has drawn sharp battle lines between Republicans and Democrats, and reshaped the race for the White House as Trump seeks re-election during a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States and devastated the economy.