Charges dropped against Ky. Rep. Attica Scott, other protesters arrested in September

Attica Scott at Jefferson Square Park hours before being arrested with 25 others in Louisville.
Attica Scott at Jefferson Square Park hours before being arrested with 25 others in Louisville.(WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 2:23 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Judges have dropped charges against democratic State Representative Attica Scott and other protesters following an arrest back in September.

Scott and several other protesters returned for a court hearing Monday morning in relation to arrests made on September 24, one day after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the grand jury’s decision on the Breonna Taylor investigation.

The group of people arrested that night, including Scott, were accused of starting a fire at the main branch of the Louisville Public Library close to a church being used for shelter during curfew.

A total of 23 protesters were arrested and charged that night. Of those arrests, 18 were given felony charges of rioting, including Scott, her daughter Ashani, and activist Shameka Parrish Wright.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell moved to dismiss the felony rioting charges against the 18 protesters charged. Those charges were dropped on October 6, and misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse and unlawful assembly were to be reviewed at a later date.

Scott tweeted Monday afternoon about the court hearing, stating the judge dismissed all charges against her and the other protesters that night. One case will be docketed next week with motion to dismiss, according to the office of the Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell.

“Thank you to all of our justice seekers, people who called, emailed and tagged the County Attorney on social media,” Scott tweeted. "You got it done! Our work continues as we seek justice for Breonna Taylor.

O’Connell’s office released a statement saying at least 236 protester arrests have been granted a motion to dismiss, and does not include the dismissal of felony charges against the 88 individuals who protested outside Daniel Cameron’s home back in July.

Read the full statement here:

"County Attorney Mike O’Connell moved to dismiss felony riot charges on October 6 against 18 defendants, including Representative Attica Scott, stemming from events at the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library on September 24. County Attorney O’Connell made the motion to dismiss the felony charges at arraignment (an uncommon event that early in the proceedings) but requested additional time to review misdemeanor charges as the Jefferson District Court faces a backlog of more than 22,000 cases due to COVID-19. November 16 was given as the next court date.

Following a review of the evidence in these cases, the County Attorney’s office amended the charges of Failure to Disperse and Unlawful Assembly to Curfew Violation, and further moved to dismiss this Curfew Violation against these 18 individuals. County Attorney O’Connell determined that this was the fair and just disposition for these individuals and for the community. Judges dismissed charges against 17 individuals today, with one case docketed for next week on our motion to dismiss.

Prosecutors have a higher duty than other lawyers to be ministers of justice and not just an advocate. This means we must always seek the truth and act upon it, rather than seek a victory in court. Our independent review of these cases demonstrates this responsibility.

There are now at least 236 protest-related defendants where a judge has granted our motions to dismiss all charges, or where we have sent the cases to the Circuit Court Clerk’s office to be docketed on our motions to dismiss. This number does not include the felonies dismissed against 88 individuals who protested at the home of Attorney General Daniel Cameron where misdemeanor charges are still under review. As mentioned, there is a backlog of approximately 22,000 cases in the Jefferson District Court. Our review is ongoing in the approximately 800 potential protest-related cases."

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