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Louisville lawmaker back on protest line after rioting arrest; police probe fiery blast outside church

The Kentucky Democratic lawmaker who sponsored a police reform bill named “Breonna’s Law” was back on the protest line Friday, a day after being arrested on a felony rioting charge in Louisville.

Meanwhile, at least 28 people were arrested in Louisville late Saturday, as a group of protesters exited First Unitarian Church before midnight and began to cause destruction, lighting fire to plywood in front of the building, the Louisville Metro Police Department said.

Police said many windows at Spalding University and Presentation Academy were smashed, and graffiti was sprayed across several buildings. A car was also set on fire with fireworks inside, setting off small explosions. People inside the church were asked to remain there while the police secured the area.

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Before the curfew took effect Saturday, police said people were seen gathering plywood barriers and other items that could be used as weapons, and “media reported protesters intended to standoff with police.”

This comes after state Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, was arrested with a group of demonstrators outside First Unitarian Church just before the 9 p.m. curfew went into effect Thursday. Both she and her teenage daughter, Ashanti, were charged with felony rioting, failure to disperse and unlawful assembly. They were released by Friday morning.

Police said Scott was “part of a large group” that caused “extensive damage at multiple locations, including setting fire to the Louisville public library.” But Scott, who is currently the only Black woman serving in the Kentucky state legislature, live-streamed the moments leading up to her arrest and denied she sought to damage the library.

She also said she was arrested at 8:58 p.m. Thursday – just two minutes before a 9 p.m. curfew went into effect.

Mayor Greg Fischer said Wednesday the curfew did not apply to those heading to houses of worship. But Louisville Metro Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said Thursday that unlawful assembly can be declared at any time for safety even before the curfew begins.

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Speaking at a press conference after her release, Scott said she “never saw any of this so-called violence against the library” and was “offended that would be a charge against me because I was one of the main advocates for the library,” WAVE reported.

The union representing all the library workers with the Louisville Free Public Library defended Scott, writing that she has “consistently been a vocal supporter of libraries and library workers and has been an ally specifically to our union through many battles.”

“We have seen no proof that the flare thrown into the library has done any major damage, nor that Rep. Scott had anything to do with it, and find these accusations inconsistent with her character and the constant support we have received from her,” union President Ashley Nichole Sims and Vice President Val Pfister said in their joint statement released on Facebook.

Protesters spend time in a church lot, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Louisville. Breonna Taylor's family demanded Friday that Kentucky authorities release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury hearings that led to no charges against police officers who killed the Black woman during a March drug raid at her apartment. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Protesters spend time in a church lot, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Louisville. Breonna Taylor’s family demanded Friday that Kentucky authorities release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury hearings that led to no charges against police officers who killed the Black woman during a March drug raid at her apartment. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Saturday marked the fourth consecutive night protests and civil unrest broke out in Louisville following the Jefferson County grand jury decision to indict only one officer involved in the police raid that killed Breonna Taylor in March, but not for her death. Two police officers were wounded in a shooting that broke out on the first night of protests Wednesday when more than 100 arrests were made.

FBI Louisville also announced Friday that one individual was arrested for aiming a laser at aircraft, “threatening the safety of law enforcement who were dutifully protecting lawful protesters.”

Last month, Scott said she put forth a bill to ban the use of controversial no-knock search warrants across Kentucky. Titled “Breonna’s Law,” in honor of Taylor, the bill requires body cameras to be worn when search warrants are executed, as well as the drug and alcohol testing of officers involved in shootings and deadly incidents, according to The Courier-Journal.

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Scott won the Democratic primary for Kentucky’s 41st House District after defeating Tom Riner in 2016. Because she had no Republican challenger to face on Election Day that November, the Democrat became the first African American woman to serve in Kentucky’s state legislature in 20 years, according to NBC News.

Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report. 

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