Louisville Police Sued by Civil Rights Groups Over Police Actions Against Protesters

August 3, 2020

The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky have filed a lawsuit alleging use of force and intimidation by Louisville police against protesters.

The lawsuit alleges use of tear gas, pepper balls and batons against protesters as well as mass arrests in recent weeks.

Protests over the shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police erupted downtown in late May, leading to continuing clashes with law enforcement.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court on behalf of state Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, and several others and names as defendants the metro government, Mayor Greg Fischer, police officials and several officers. Scott previously filed a complaint that she was pushed by an officer and hit with tear gas during a downtown protest.

The plaintiffs seek to have the use of “crowd control weaponry” banned from being used on peaceful protesters as well as monetary damages.

“The complaint raises very important issues as we, as a city and a nation, work through the complexities of balancing personal and public safety with a person’s First Amendment right to protest,” said Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Fischer. “We’ll work with the Jefferson County Attorney’s office on any further response.”

The police department referred requests for comment to the county attorney’s office.

“The complaint was filed late Thursday afternoon and we are reviewing it on behalf of our clients,” said Josh Abner, spokesman for Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell. “Our response will be filed with the court.”

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