Update (November 17, 2020): Charges against Kentucky lawmaker Rep. Attica Scott (D-Ky.) have been dropped following protests in Louisville after the grand jury’s decision to not file charges against police officers for killing Breonna Taylor.
According to NPR, Scott and her daughter were charged with first-degree rioting, failure to disperse and unlawful assembly. At least a dozen other protesters were also arrested but later had their charges dropped.
The Black Kentucky legislator took to Twitter to announce the dismissal of charges. She thanked her supporters and posted a photo of the judicial release decision.
"ALL CHARGES HAVE JUST BEEN DROPPED! Thank you to all of our justice seekers, people who called, emailed and tagged the County Attorney on social media. You got it done! Our work continues as we seek justice for Breonna Taylor," Scott tweeted on Monday.
ALL CHARGES HAVE JUST BEEN DROPPED!
Thank you to all of our justice seekers, people who called, emailed and tagged the County Attorney on social media. You got it done!
Our work continues as we seek justice for Breonna Taylor. https://t.co/Mo7bH140KY
— Attica Scott (@atticascott4ky) November 16, 2020
Scott was arrested back in September after an attempted arson blocks away at a public library. Livestream from Scott's personal social media account, however, disputed claims that she was present at the time of the arson.
The felony rioting charge was dismissed in October but Scott and others still faced the misdemeanor charges before Monday's dismissal, according to Wave 3 News.
A spokesperson for Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell detailed why the additional charges were dropped.
“Prosecutors have a higher duty than other lawyers to be ministers of justice and not just an advocate,” spokesman Josh Abner told WFPL. “This means we must always seek the truth and act upon it, rather than seek a victory in court. Our independent review of these cases demonstrates this responsibility.”
Scott’s attorney, Ted Shouse, shared an opposing viewpoint about the dismissal of charges.
“The vast majority of these charges are completely without merit… It was catch as catch can in the early days of the protests,” Shouse told the news station.
Original (September 25, 2020): Police have finally released Kentucky State Rep. Attica Scott after arresting her on Thursday night during an attack on protesters outside of the First Unitarian Church in Louisville, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
Scott, her daughter Ashanti Scott, prominent Louisville activist Shameka Parrish-Wright and other protesters have been charged with first-degree rioting because someone blocks away tried to start a fire near a public library, according to a statement from Louisville Metro Police Department sent to the newspaper.
Scott's lawyers have called the charges "outrageous on their face" and said it made little sense why dozens of protesters were being charged for the actions of people nowhere near their group.
Louisville has seen widespread protests for two days since Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
announced that no charges would be filed against either of the officers who shot Breonna Taylor to death on March 13.
As seen in dozens of cities this summer during demonstrations, police in Louisville have been extraordinarily violent when dealing with peaceful protesters since the ruling, and multiple videos are now floating around social media showing harsh crackdowns by officers.
I don’t know what I just witnessed pic.twitter.com/m7PGmpSUH9
— Bailey Loosemore (@bloosemore) September 23, 2020
WFPL News reported Scott is the only Black woman member of Kentucky's state legislature. She introduced "Breonna's Law" in August which would ban no-knock warrants in the state and has been a fierce critic of the local and state government.
She has been protesting alongside fellow Kentucky residents for months and has called on Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to resign while bashing the local police force for their heavy-handed tactics during protests over Taylor's killing. With the help of the NAACP and the ACLU, Scott filed a lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department for their use of force against protesters in July.
“Rather than treating its peaceful protesters as important parts of the democratic process protected by the Constitution, the City of Louisville has chosen to forcibly silence them—often using military-type weapons and tactics that resemble those used by authoritarian regimes to stifle dissent,” the complaint said.
After being arrested, police charged her with two misdemeanor counts of unlawful assembly and failure to disperse in addition to felony rioting charge, which WFPL News noted was the same kind of Class D felony that ex-detective Brett Hankinson was charged with for shooting blindly into Taylor's apartment building.
Scott was live-streaming the protest on Facebook before being arrested outside of the church which offered protesters safe harbor during the demonstration. According to police, they decided to arrest all of the protesters because someone had broken a window at the Louisville Free Public Library's downtown branch nearby.
After being released from jail on Friday morning, Scott spoke to the Louisville Courier Journal and said the charges against her were insane because the library is in the district she herself represents.
"The main library is in my District 41 — what I have done nothing but fight for in Frankfort and try to get funding for — and you're going to accuse me of trying to set fire to it? That's ridiculous. It's absurd. We will be back out here later on today. You can't stop the revolution, you can't stop the movement for justice for Breonna Taylor," Scott said.
"They detained us at 8:58 (p.m.), so two minutes before curfew, when we were across the street from the church where we were trying to go get sanctuary," she told the newspaper, adding that she "wouldn't be surprised if the police did it themselves."
The library's union leaders, President Ashley Nichole Sims and Vice President Val Pfister, sent out a statement slamming the arrest.
"We have seen no proof that the flare thrown into the library has done any major damage, nor that Representative Scott had anything to do with it, and find these accusations inconsistent with her character and the constant support we have received from her," the union leaders said.
Other lawmakers have also spoken out about the arrest, calling it "unbelievable." State Rep. Charles Booker added his disbelief at the actions of the police.
The words escape me right now. This is happening in Louisville as we speak. My Shero, riding partner, and colleague in the State House, the sponsor of Breonna’s Law, was one of the people arrested.
Absolutely and deeply unbelievable.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) September 25, 2020
"Imagine that police officers are surrounding a church, waiting for anyone to step off of the property so they can arrest them for breaking curfew. Now imagine the ministers working to get everyone inside the sanctuary to keep them safe.This is a reality in my city right now," he wrote.
State Rep. Josie Raymond noted the hypocrisy in the case.
Two people charged with class D felonies this week: Brett Hankison and Rep. Attica Scott.
One fired his gun into Breonna Taylor's home. One protested her killing.
One was out in 30 minutes. One will be kept at least overnight.
— State Representative Josie Raymond (@RepJosieRaymond) September 25, 2020
"If you arrest the loudest voices fighting racial injustice in Louisville, we have to believe you want to silence the fight against racial injustice," she added on Twitter.
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