The Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are among the defendants in a proposed class action filed over what the Kentucky Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression alleges is the city’s decision to “forcibly silence” peaceful protestors with military-style weapons and tactics.
The 46-page complaint, filed July 30 in Kentucky federal court, alleges “countless peaceful protestors,” including elected officials and local educators, were “shot, gassed, beaten, and arrested solely for making their voices heard” in late May and early June in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police.
According to the lawsuit, the “combat-style” response from Louisville police and the National Guard led to the death of David McAtee, a local Black restaurant owner who the case says was shot with 18 live rounds.
Further, the lawsuit claims Louisville police abused the curfew order implemented by the city by arresting or dispersing demonstrators hours before they were required to clear the streets.
Among the plaintiffs in the case is Attica Scott, who currently represents Kentucky’s 41stdistrict in the state’s House of Representatives. In addition to the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the lawsuit names as defendants the city’s interim police chief, assistant police chief and several named and unidentified police officers.
While the Louisville Metro Police Department’s conduct amid the protests “came under intense media scrutiny almost immediately,” the defendants “have done nothing” to correct the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, the lawsuit alleges. After the city’s initial protests between May 28 and June 1, Louisville police, despite being ordered not to use tear gas without approval, resumed their use of “aggressive tactics and potentially lethal weapons” on June 15, deploying smoke grenades, flash bangs, pepper rounds and a sound cannon throughout the afternoon and evening.
The lawsuit looks to represent all individuals who peacefully participated in any day of protests between May 28 and July 30, 2020 on which Louisville Metro Police Department officers utilized tear gas, flash bangs, pepper balls, rubber bullets, impact rounds, batons, or other comparable crowd control weaponry and were exposed to the weaponry at those protests.