LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Nearly 90 protesters, many from out of town, are fighting a felony charge on each of them after they were arrested Tuesday in the front yard of Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s new home in Graymoor-Devondale.
The 87 demonstrators arrested were demanding a decision in the Breonna Taylor case at Cameron’s home, but LMPD says their escalation reached the level of criminal intimidation. LMPD says they viewed Tuesday’s chanting and trespassing as a threat of violence against Cameron.
Chants of “burn it down” versus “shut it down” leaves questions for police about what the activist group Until Freedom’s intent was sitting on Cameron’s lawn. They say protesters stated their intent was to escalate, which LMPD says has meant violence and destruction in the past.
Intimidating a participant in a legal process is a class D felony in Kentucky, and if convicted, the protesters could face up to five years in prison.
A handful of Cameron’s new neighbors interpret the demonstrators’ actions much differently.
”They’re willing to fight for what they believe in they’re willing to go to jail for what they believe in,” Greg Coleman said. “Five years though? That’s unnecessary.”
Freshly moved into the neighborhood, Coleman was a bit nervous to get a call from his wife hearing of around 100 people on his quiet residential street, but he doesn’t see why they were charged with intimidation of a participant in a legal process.
”I didn’t get any kind of intimidating vibe or any kind of threatening vibe from it whatsoever,” Coleman said.
Many neighbors share the support Coleman has for the movement, like Jane Bell.
”When I gave him a thumbs up when I was on my porch, they just were waving to me and they were just chanting their chant,” Bell said.
Bell has lived in Graymoor-Devondale for 58 years.
”It was just like, ‘Well why this street?' This is kind of history,” she said about the surprise march because she has never seen Cameron at the house he recently closed on.
Bell says Tuesday’s protesters were nice and respectful. Other neighbors say they took steps to make sure they knew what was happening.
”They asked me if I had some garbage bags for them, and I went and got some garbage bags. So, you know, they picked up their water and stuff,” Callista Raisor said.
Raisor also was shocked to find out Cameron bought the home. Along with her fellow neighbors, she feels felony charges are too much.
”They were chanting and singing and all that, but everybody, even some of the ones that kind of stayed back, couldn’t have been any politer,” Raisor said.
Even as they were arrested, Raisor says they kept their cool.
A spokesperson for LMPD, Jesse Halladay, released a statement confirming the felony charge issued against the demonstrators was KRS 524.040 ‘intimidating a participant in a legal process.’ Halladay said police 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, leading to the felony intimidation charges.