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Remembering Breonna Taylor: Street closures, other preps announced ahead of planned demonstrations in Louisville

City leaders announced that a number of streets surrounding Jefferson Square Park will be closed this weekend to create a walking plaza for those planning to gather.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to a release, street closures and preparations have been made by Louisville leaders ahead of demonstrations planned for the observance of the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death.

Taylor was killed by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers inside her home during the execution of a no-knock warrant March 13, 2020.

The downtown street closures are to create a walking plaza for those planning to gather at Jefferson Square Park in remembrance this weekend, the release says. 

LMPD Chief Erika Shields said blocks adjacent to the park will be restricted to pedestrian traffic only, with no parking, after morning rush hour March 12 through March 14. 

“As I’ve shared with the protest leaders we’ve talked with, the goal is to allow a safe space for people to gather and express themselves in a peaceful, lawful way,” Shields said.

The streets affected are:

  • Jefferson St from 5th St to 7th St
  • Liberty St from 5th St to 7th St
  • Cedar St from 6th St to 7th St
  • Congress Alley from 6th St to 7th St
  • Court Place from 5th St to 6th St
  • 6th St from Market to Muhammad Ali
  • 5th St from Market to Muhammad Ali
  • Armory Place from Muhammad Ali to Liberty St

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer expects the events this weekend to be, “a solemn remembrance of tragedies, a recognition of changes that those tragedies have brought and will bring, and a reminder of the work still ahead to build a city of equity and a police department working with the community to be the best in the nation.”

Marker planned for downtown to honor 2020 Racial Justice Protests

Additionally, the mayor announced the installation of a permanent marker at the northeast corner of the park to memorialize the racial justice demonstrations held throughout 2020. 

The marker will also serve as a marker to remember Louisvillians David McAtee and Tyler Gerth, who were killed in incidents related to protests.

The front will say:

2020 Racial Justice Protests

Built in 1978, Jefferson Square Park memorializes first responders killed in the line of duty. In 2020, it became a rallying place for those demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman tragically killed by Louisville Metro Police serving a search warrant. Protesters called this space “Injustice Square Park” and held demonstrations that drew global attention. 

While the back will say:

2020 Racial Justice Protests

Over 2,000 U.S. cities saw racial justice protests fueled by the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and others. Locally, these demonstrations prompted police reform and policy changes to improve racial equity in the city. Many here also mourned Louisvillians David McAtee and photographer Tyler Gerth, killed in incidents related to the protests.

“This marker will be a permanent reminder of the challenges we face, as a city and a nation, and the work we’re doing to move our city from tragedy to transformation,” Metro Chief of Community Building, Vincent James, said.

Following this weekend, the park will be cleared out daily and permits for events will be required, the release says. Next week, the city will work with families to remove and store memorial items left at the park.

“When people come to see this park, where the local 2020 demonstrations were centered – prompting public safety reforms and a movement toward greater racial equity – we want them to come to a beautiful, safe and inviting space,” Fischer said. 

Fischer urged those gathering to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

TARC to detour riders around closed roads

TARC said they will implement a 3 square-block service detour in the downtown Louisville area.  

This detour will run from 4th Street to 7th Street, and from Muhammad Ali Boulevard to Market Street for the full-service days of Friday, March 12th, Saturday, March 13th, and Sunday, March 14th. 

This plan also includes TARC3 passengers.

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