Protesters fight for release of inmates during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Apr. 10, 2020 at 5:27 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you're in downtown Louisville on a Friday morning a group of protesters say you will hear their horns and whistles until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

The group is fighting for a demographic they say is forgotten and being put not just at risk, but in a position to catch the virus.

The caravan circled Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, The Hall of Justice and ICE headquarters downtown before making its way back to Oldham County's ICE Detention Center.

The caravan is called Freedom Friday and is made up of Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice, The Bail Project Louisville and four other local activist groups. They continue to call on city and state leaders to release people from jails, prisons and detention centers in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

One of the Freedom Friday organizers, Sonja DeVries, said, “There is no way to be safe from COVID-19 in that situation. With the incredible overcrowding there’s no possibility for social distancing no possibility for sanitizing your hands nothing. It’s completely unjust.” Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jeff Cooke said a spread inside the jail would be traumatic. He signed more than 100 orders in March supporting the release of non-violent offenders and said he also received calls from private defense attorneys requesting releases. Still protesters in the caravan say they will keep circling and honking until all inmates are out and the pandemic ends. Friday’s caravan came after the group sent a letter to the local courts requesting for all inmates inside of LMDC who have a cash bond but can’t afford it to be released immediately.

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