Protesters March Outside Churchill Downs, Demand Justice For Breonna Taylor - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Protesters March Outside Churchill Downs, Demand Justice For Breonna Taylor

Churchill Downs reopened May 16 with empty grandstands

Planned racial injustice protests took a crowd of demonstrators past the gates at the frontside of Churchill Downs on Tuesday. The afternoon's demonstrations resulted in 64 arrests for charges of obstructing the roadway and disorderly conduct, acting Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder told The protests were scheduled by national organization Until Freedom at the end of a four-day conference dedicated to the pursuit of justice in the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed by Louisville police in March of this year.

One of Until Freedom's co-founders, Linda Sarsour, was among those arrested.

Protesters met around 2:00 p.m. at South Central Park, then marched to the Louisville Metro Police Department Training Academy where they changed letters on the marquee to read “I see murderers.” From there, the protesters marched toward Churchill Downs, crossing the bridge on Central Avenue near Cardinal Stadium.

Arrests were made when protesters blocked the street, and Until Freedom march coordinators urged those who didn't wish to be arrested to stick to the sidewalks. Those protesters arriving at the frontside of Churchill Downs chanted “F*ck your Derby,” and hung a sign with Breonna Taylor's name on it near the front gate.

Calls from Louisville's Black community to boycott the race reach as far back as mid-July, but they have gotten louder as the Sept. 5 race gets closer.

The Justice and Freedom Coalition is one of four groups now calling for a boycott of the Kentucky Derby – joined by No Justice No Peace Louisville, the Louisville chapter of Black Lives Matter, and the national group Until Freedom – who say it an inappropriate time to hold the event while there is unrest in Louisville.

“You can understand people's frustration,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in his daily news briefing Tuesday. “Certainly, those that hold the Kentucky Derby have absolutely no control over the timing of the [Breonna Taylor] investigation, or when we will have any type of results. I hope there can at least be a positive dialogue there. That's certainly a large facility in an area of Louisville where a lot of good could be done together.”

LMPD units have been stationed outside the Churchill Downs stable gate for the past several days, according to multiple sources, and that presence is expected to continue as the ramp up to Sept. 5 continues. Churchill officials are taking other extra precautions for this year's spectatorless Kentucky Derby, including a hard perimeter, which is not usually part of the day's security plan.

Sources inside Churchill told the Paulick Report that the track is ready to go and that there are multiple plans in place which can be implemented to respond to rising levels of unrest around the area.

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