In Louisville, Kentucky, the city appears to be preparing for a storm. Police have barricaded parts of the city, while businesses are appending plywood to their windows. The mayor, Greg Fischer, has declared a state of emergency.
However, there is no storm approaching Louisville. Instead, it is expected that Attorney General Daniel Cameron will soon announce whether police officers involved in Brianna Taylor’s shooting death will be charged.
Protests in the city have continued for months following Taylor’s killing. Police entered her home unannounced, late one night in March 2020. They were serving a no-knock warrant for suspected drug possession.
Taylor’s boyfriend was home at the time, something that police didn’t know, and became spooked by the sounds of people entering the apartment. He reached for his gun and fired on the intruders, who he thought were home invaders.
Police returned fire, and a sleeping Taylor was caught in the crossfire. She died as a result of the injuries. Following her death, and in light of the widespread Black Lives Matter movement, protests gripped Louisville. The protests have remained largely peaceful, with police occasionally resorting to tear gas and pepper balls in escalations of force.
Daniel Cameron is expected to announce whether the officers involved in the shooting death will be charged shortly. Louisville is on edge, fearing that a failure to bring charges against the officers could bring out a massive protest. Black Lives Matter protesters often recite the mantra “no justice, no peace,” reflecting their primary goals.
Many protesters ascribe to the belief that change won’t occur unless they make themselves heard. And, many activists have surmised, police only understand the language of unrest. This rhetoric mirrors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who once stated that “a riot is the language of the unheard”.
While a new Ipsos poll shows that a majority of Americans think US cities as “under siege” by protesters, this year’s protests have been more nationally popular than prior Black Lives Matter movements.
Some Americans become frustrated easily with protests, simply wanting downtown areas back to normal so they can shop for LG TV rebates and new cell phone plans.
Other Americans are a bit more understanding. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has stated that, while he agrees with the protesters’ message and goals, he denounces any violent form of protest. Many Black Lives Matter supporters wish that Biden would denounce police brutality and police escalation of violence as roundly as he does protesters’ violence.