A total of 71 people were arrested during protests over Breonna Taylor’s death, police in Louisville, Ky., told The Hill on Wednesday.
Robert Schroeder, the interim chief for the Louisville Metro Police Department, said during a press briefing Tuesday evening that the demonstrations were “largely peaceful.” But he added that demonstrators blocked different streets for several minutes and “crossed several intersections, creating dangerous situations as traffic continued to try to make its way in the area.”
“At several points, officers gave directions to stay on the sidewalks and protesters were also given the opportunity to turn around and leave the area,” he said. “Those that did not were eventually arrested.”
Schroeder also said during the briefing that those arrested had been charged with obstructing the roadway and disorderly conduct.
“We want to respect the right for people to express their First Amendment rights, but we also have to ensure public safety for the whole community and the protesters themselves,” he added. “We said we would not allow traffic … to be completely obstructed or unsafe conditions to develop.”
The demonstrations come several months after police carrying out a “no-knock” warrant shot and killed Taylor, an aspiring nurse, after her boyfriend fired a warning shot, reportedly thinking the officers were intruders. Tuesday’s protest had been expected to be one of the largest since her death in March, CNN reported.
Protesters, who came from Florida, Michigan and New York, joined the crowd and called for charges against the officers involved. Signs saying “convict police” and “Black Lives Matter” were visible among the crowd, according to CNN.
Some protesters held a sit-in demonstration at the Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held, and organizers said they plan to protest at the race on Sept. 5.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Tuesday that police “still don’t have an answer or the facts in the Breonna Taylor case” but “there’s a need for finality in the investigation,” CNN noted.
“Ms. Taylor’s family deserves to know the truth. We at least need an explanation for what’s taking so long,” Beshear said during a press briefing.