LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The director of the Fairness Campaign in Louisville was arrested Thursday during a protest at the Kentucky State Fair.
Members of the Fairness Campaign gathered at the Fairgrounds Thursday morning to protest the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Ham Breakfast. The campaign claims Kentucky Farm Bureau's policies promote discrimination and members appear at the breakfast every year to protest.
During this year's protest, Kentucky State Police Sergeant Josh Lawson said Director Chris Hartman and two others attempted to force their way into the private event despite organizers providing a designated area to demonstrate. They were handcuffed and taken out of the convention center by troopers.
In a live video on the Fairness Campaign Facebook page, the protesters are stopped by officers as they attempt to enter the Kentucky Expo Center with their mascot, “Freda Fairness." After an argument with troopers, Hartman is asked to leave the premises. In the video, Hartman lays down on the ground and is dragged out by police. Fairness Campaign protesters chant as Hartman is taken into custody.
“If you want to violate my first amendment rights, you’re gonna fight for it,” Hartman says in the video as he is put into a state police cruiser.
He appears in a separate Facebook video on the Fairness Campaign’s page, which appears to have been recorded in the back of the cruiser.
“I am sad to report that the Kentucky Farm Bureau and the Kentucky State Police have once more conspired to send Farm Bureau breakfast protesters to jail,” he says in the video.
He says that he was “aggressively, violently arrested and dragged out” and that his wrist was nearly dislocated during the arrest.
KSP said the Court of Appeals upheld their procedure for protecting the ham breakfast last month and said: "anyone engaging in activity to disrupt a private event or engaging in activity not related to the purpose of the forum may be removed."
Hartman was previously arrested by KSP while protesting in 2015. In 2017, Hartman attempted to bring the mascot into the breakfast but was not allowed in with it.