Louisville, Ky. Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Chief Robert Schroeder outlined steps being taken in preparation for Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s planned announcement in the Breonna Taylor case, including a countywide curfew starting at 9 p.m.
A Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the killing of Breonna Taylor during a drug raid, with prosecutors saying two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor were justified in using force to protect themselves, AP News reported.
Acknowledging the potential of large gatherings in response to that announcement, Mayor Fischer said, “We all have a choice to make in response to whatever decision Attorney General Cameron announces today. I urge everyone to commit once again to a peaceful, lawful response, like we’ve seen here for the majority of the past several months.”
Noting that most protest-related violence over the past few months has occurred after dark, Mayor Fischer said he has signed an Executive Order setting a countywide, 72-hour curfew from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., starting September 23.The curfew does not apply to people commuting to work, house of worship for services or seeking medical attention for themselves or others.
The Mayor added that all Louisville Metro Government buildings in the downtown corridor will be closed. That includes: Metro Hall and its Annex; City Hall and its Annex; Fiscal Court; the Sinking Fund; LMPD headquarters; Metro Development and Metro Safe on South Fifth Street; Youth Detention Services; and the Alexander Building on West Main. The city’s Downtown Wellness Center on First Street also is closing.
The Mayor said he is encouraging other downtown businesses to consider allowing employees to work remotely, if possible. “Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights,” Mayor Fischer said. “At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”
Earlier, Mayor Fischer announced that he’d signed two other Executive Orders: One declares a state of emergency due to the potential for civil unrest, which allows him to exercise any of his emergency powers, including those to hire or contract for services, and implementing curfews and other restrictions. The other restricts access to downtown parking garages in order to provide an extra layer of security for protests in and around Jefferson Square Park.
Chief Schroeder also previously announced that he’d issued a state of emergency for LMPD, which allowed him to cancel all vacation and requested off days for officers. In addition, LMPD implemented road and traffic restrictions.
Chief Schroeder noted that while there will be a great focus downtown, where most demonstrations have been centered, law enforcement will be monitoring communities and critical infrastructure throughout the city. The Mayor and Chief stressed that the public should base their behaviors on facts and not participate in the spread of misinformation. Residents can help by following the Mayor’s Office, LMPD and other official Louisville Metro Government social media accounts for updates.
Cities across the U.S. have also started to take the necessary precautions to ensure public safety. The Illinois National Guard, for instance, has been put on standby.