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'He didn’t do this for us, he did this for optics': Black Lives Matter says Mayor's 'quiet' removal of Castleman statue is far from enough

"That statue will be laid to rest in a place where other family members are laid to rest, where Muhammad Ali who fought for justice is laid to rest."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Community members rallied outside of LMPD headquarters Thursday calling on the firing and prosecution of the officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting.

The protest was followed by another media conference organized by Louisville Black Lives Matter.

Louisville Showing Up For Racial Justice, a group that works to undermine white supremacy, read over 50 names of those killed in police shootings and incidents in the United States. Members said about a dozen of the lives lost were at the hands of Louisville Metro Police. 

"Black people are three times as likely to be killed by police as white people," Sonja Devries with SURJ said. "In some cities, the rate of police killings of Black people is higher than the murder rate."

Black Lives Matter took to the former site of the controversial John B. Castleman Statue calling out Mayor Greg Fischer for quietly having it removed Monday

"He didn’t do this for us – he did this for optics," Brianna Harlan with Louisville BLM said. "So that we couldn't do what's happening all over the country the tearing down of these monuments, these statues, these symbols of oppression by the people; he did not want to give us the opportunity to let our rage be seen, heard and recognized."

Community members said relocating the statue is a slap in the face and will not bring answers to Breonna Taylor's family. 

"That statue will be laid to rest in a place where other family members are laid to rest, where Muhammad Ali who fought for justice is laid to rest," president of Louisville BLM, Chanelle Helm said. 

The group burned sage and palo santo at the former site as a way to cleanse and heal the racist history behind the statue. The group's message to the Mayor – "justice delayed is justice denied." Members say the mayor's removal of the statue is an empty offer of racial healing and reconciliation.

"This lifeless statue was handled with more dignity than the life of Breonna Taylor," Matrid Ndife said. "[Breonna's] removal from this life was not nice, it was brutal. For the Black community, the pain of waiting three months is the reliving of the collective pain of 401 years of slavery and systemic racism."

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