LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – The Louisville Metro Police Department is defending a felony charge that was placed on more than 80 people who were taken into custody when a protest moved to the Kentucky Attorney General’s front yard.
A total of 87 arrests were made when protesters occupied the front lawn of Daniel Cameron on July 14. Among the people charged were NFL player Kenny Stills, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Porsha Williams and “Love and Hip Hop” star Yandy Smith.
LMPD spokeswoman Jesse Halladay released a statement Thursday morning that stated the felony charge issued was KRS 524.040 ‘intimidating a participant in a legal process.'
She said the law states, “A person is guilty of intimidating a participant in the legal process when, by use of force or a threat directed to a person he believes to be a participant in the legal process he or she: Influences, or attempts to influence, the testimony, vote, decision, or opinion of that person. Force by definition can be actual or implied and is the power, violence or pressure directed against a person. Entry into the ground of another without consent is an example of implied force.”
Halladay said commanders who were monitoring the protests watched people gather and state they were going to Cameron’s house, knowing he was a participant in the Breonna Taylor case.
“Prior to arriving at the home, it was stated the intent of the protest was to ‘escalate’ their actions, which in the past has indicated violent or destructive behavior. At one point on a live stream, protestors are heard saying they will burn it down if they don’t get what they want,” Halladay said in a statement provided by LMPD.
Halladay said the protesters entered the yard without consent, searched through windows, and occupied the street. She said protesters were warned they would face criminal charges if they did not leave and that dozens of protesters then returned to the yard and refused to leave. Halladay said while refusing to leave, protesters again said they would burn it down if they did not get what they wanted.
“These actions were taken to mean a threat of violence toward Attorney General Cameron, leading to the decision to charge under KRS 524.040,” Halladay said.
The protest was staged as a call for justice in the Taylor case, which Cameron’s office is currently investigating. Taylor was shot dead when LMPD narcotics officers served a warrant at her apartment on March 13.
On Monday, Cameron reiterated his office’s investigation into Taylor’s death is not complete and asked for the public’s patience.
Cameron released the following statement regarding the protest Tuesday evening:
“From the beginning, our office has set out to do its job, to fully investigate the events surrounding the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor. We continue with a thorough and fair investigation, and today’s events will not alter our pursuit of the truth. The stated goal of today’s protest at my home was to ‘escalate.’ That is not acceptable and only serves to further division and tension within our community. Justice is not achieved by trespassing on private property, and it’s not achieved through escalation. It’s achieved by examining the facts in an impartial and unbiased manner. That is exactly what we are doing and will continue to do in this investigation.”