Louisville, Ky., police have arrested dozens of protesters who staged a sit-in on an overpass.
Tuesday afternoon’s protest marked the final day of an event known as “BreonnaCon,” which called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot and killed by police executing a “no-knock” warrant in her home in March.
Sixty-four people were arrested during the event, NPR member station WFPL reported. Several other news organizations reported higher numbers of arrests. The Louisville Metro Police Department did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for clarification.
Robert Schroeder, Louisville’s interim police chief, said the people were charged with obstructing the roadway and disorderly conduct, WFPL reported. The sit-in took place near the city’s Cardinal Stadium.
WFPL’s Ryan Van Velzer reported and captured the tense scene of protesters massing on the bridge, confronting law enforcement officers in riot gear.
“We must love and support each other,” the protesters chanted. “We have nothing to lose but our chains! It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to win!”
In a briefing before the demonstration Tuesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer urged a peaceful protest.
“Violence or property destruction is unacceptable and will be addressed immediately,” Fischer said, according to Reuters. “Our hope and our expectation is that protests will be peaceful.”
The four-day BreonnaCon event was organized by Until Freedom, a national social justice organization that counts among its leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, former co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington.
Some local activists criticized BreonnaCon as inappropriate and exploitative, as WFPL’s Eleanor Klibanoff reported. Several events on the schedule used Taylor’s name, including a “Bre-B-Q” and a “TaylorMade” women’s empowerment session about “Beauty, Money and Justice.”
Chanelle Helm, who works with Black Lives Matter Louisville, said Black Lives Matter had stopped working with Until Freedom, in part because she felt the group focused on Taylor’s case to the exclusion of other issues important to Black people in Louisville.
“The people in the streets are the folks that got this moving,” Helm told WFPL. “It isn’t the people who have access to the boards, or the multimillion-dollar nonprofits. It isn’t even the grassroots organizers. It’s the people who are seeking justice, not only for Breonna, but for themselves … and that’s who we should be moving with and assisting.”