LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One hundred days after protests first started in Louisville, organizers spoke about their plans to demonstrate during the Kentucky Derby — calling LMPD and Mayor Greg Fischer's response to upcoming protests "ridiculous."
Timothy Findley Jr., founder of the Justice and Freedom Coalition, announced his plans to protest the Derby earlier this week, encouraging people to put a spotlight on Breonna Taylor.
"We plan to be what Martin Luther King called 'creative extremists,'" said Findley, pastor at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center. "We plan to get the message out by any means necessary."
After groups like Until Freedom and NFAC also announced plans for demonstrations, LMPD and Fischer held a press conference to discuss their preparations. Officials said they have been in contact with organizations, laying out multiple road closures designated for protesters.
Findley and leaders with Until Freedom, however, said they have not heard from LMPD or city leaders. Instead, they called the city's response to protests "dramatic," questioning why protesters are being placed into one area and why there are fences and armored vehicles outside Churchill Downs.
"Why is the mayor coming on the news and saying that he's talked to a number of organizers, and he's not talked to any of us," Findley said Friday. "It does not matter to me how many times people get on television and say we respect your right to protest. This is not respecting our right to protest."
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Mysonne Linen with Until Freedom said protesters should not be forced into one area, saying they have a right to protest in a non-violent way wherever they want.
"A protest is not a parade. It is not a march where you tell us where we can go," Linen said. "A protest means that we are dissatisfied with the treatment that’s going on. Therefore, we have the right to protest where we deem necessary to protest."
Fellow Until Freedom co-founder Tamika Mallory said the city is spending more resources on stopping protesters than bringing justice in Taylor's case.
"The resources [are] being spent to avoid what needs to be done, which is that four officers, specifically who killed Breonna Taylor in an act of cold blood, must be arrested and charged for her murder," Mallory said. "That is what needs to be done. And then, people can go home."
Mallory specifically called on Fischer, saying he is allowing for nonviolent protesters to be caged up.
“He had the ability to fire the officers, but instead of firing them, he used taxpayer dollars, including Breonna Taylor’s family’s taxpayer dollars, to build a fence so that he could create slave-like conditions for nonviolent protesters," Mallory said.
LMPD responded to some claims, saying the fences outside of Churchill Downs are there every year during the Kentucky Derby. Deputy Chief LaVita Chavous also said armored vehicles were brought in case of vehicle rammings or active shooter incidents.
"We hope that everyone will enjoy the Derby, and we’re also prepared for others to express their First Amendment rights," Chavous said. "We don’t know how large these crowds will be, but we do not intend to intervene in lawful protests that are not violent. We intend to let them exercise their First Amendment rights."
Organizers said they will continue with their planned demonstration Saturday, saying they will not stop protesting until justice is served.
"There should be no Derby in this city right now," Linen said. "The only thing that should be happening in this city right now is the arrest of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor."
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