A demonstration in Louisville on Thursday turned violent, leading to the arrest of 26 people.
People upset that only one officer was charged in relation to Breonna Taylor’s death gathered and began causing damage, breaking windows at Jeff Ruby’s Steak house before inflicting further damage at various locations as they moved through downtown, the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) said in an incident summary.
At one point, people tossed a flare into the downtown library in an attempt to start a fire, which was not successful.
Just before the curfew hour arrived, the crowd entered the property of the First Unitarian Church on Fourth Street.
“People gathered on the property of the church, which allowed them to stay there as the curfew had expired,” LMPD stated.
After police officers secured the area around the library so the broken windows could be addressed, officers left the area.
Protesters were given directions on how to leave the church and were able to walk back to their vehicles, police said.
Twenty-six people were arrested for charges including unlawful assembly, failure to disperse, and riot in the first degree. Of the 24 whose addresses were listed, all were from Louisville except for one, who hailed from Prospect, Kentucky.
Rioting on Wednesday started hours after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, announced that one of the three police officers involved in executing a search warrant on Taylor’s home in March was being charged.
Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots into a neighboring apartment, Cameron said.
But no officers were charged with Taylor’s death because they were responding to shots fired at them by her boyfriend.
Sgt. Jon Mattingly, and Detective Myles Cosgrove “were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon,” Cameron told a news conference, adding later: “This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Ms. Breonna Taylor’s death.”
Activists hoped that the officers would face murder charges.
“We’ve got to take it lying down that the law won’t protect us, that they can get away with killing us,” Lavel White, who regularly protests in Louisville, told the Associated Press.
“If we can’t get justice for Breonna Taylor, can we get justice for anybody?”
City and state officials have urged protesters to remain peaceful.
“I do know this violence is not the answer. And destruction is not the answer,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, told reporters at a briefing earlier Thursday.
Two police officers shot during demonstrations on Wednesday are expected to recover, Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder told reporters.
The suspect, Larynzo Johnson, 26, was arrested and charged with two counts of assault and 14 counts of wanton endangerment.
Attempted murder charges are possible down the road, officials said.
Wednesday’s rioting included 16 different instances of looting.
Kentucky’s National Guard is assisting police with trying to keep the peace. For now, Kentucky officials are not taking up President Donald Trump on his offer to send federal forces.