Kentucky lawmaker arrested on rioting charge, accused of setting fire to public library

Kentucky State Representative Attica Scott was arrested Thursday night during a Black Lives Matter protest that turned into a riot. Scott is the author of Breonna’s Law. She was booked on three counts after failing to disperse when police ordered her to do so.

The three counts are one count of unlawful assembly, one count of failure to disperse, and one count of riot in the first degree. The arrest report alleges she “caused damage at multiple locations, including setting fire to the Louisville Public Library.” She was one of a large group of protesters who refused to disperse. The protesters were seeking sanctuary at First Unitarian Church. Scott’s daughter was also arrested.

When asked about the church offering sanctuary to protesters, Peggy Muller, President of the Board of Directors told a reporter, “Because it is what we do. The Unitarian Church is a believer in social justice and equality and we work hard. We work, it’s just part of our mission, our principles, to help people who need help. And, here at First U., they’ve been doing it for 70 years. Either they’ve been supporting the justice programs here, how could we not do it now just because of COVID?” The protesters had to be inside the church by the 9:00 p.m. curfew to avoid arrest. They were not, they were walking there, according to the news reporter.

Interesting that the church lady admits concerns about COVID-19 won’t stop protests, right? COVID-19 shutdowns are for everyone else, apparently.

The curfew was declared Wednesday in anticipation of the Grand Jury’s announcement. As I was watching some of the news coverage last night, though, it sure looked like the curfew wasn’t being enforced. There were lots of people in the streets, along with a strong police presence. The streets around the Unitarian Church were blocked off so police could investigate the library fire. Police said at least 24 people were arrested on the three counts Scott was arrested on.

More than 100 people took to the streets Thursday night, including Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer. The group that was arrested is accused of causing damage at multiple locations, not just the fire at the public library. It’s just further proof that the narrative pushed by most of the press that these protests are peaceful is just wrong. They regularly turn into a riot. When violence and destruction begins, the event turns into a riot. People are not arrested for peacefully protesting. They are arrested for breaking the law, for acting like criminals.

Scott’s legislation, Breonna’s Law, addresses police reform. No-knock warrants were banned in June by the City of Louisville. As it turns out, the reports that the police used a no-knock warrant at Breonna’s apartment were wrong, according to the Kentucky Attorney General.

Dubbed Breonna’s Law, the legislation also requires police to wear body cameras while executing search warrants. Scott’s legislation similarly calls for police to wear body cameras and also requires police to undergo alcohol and drug screenings following deadly incidents. If enacted, it would apply to the entire state of Kentucky.

Attica Scott is the only black female legislator in the Kentucky Capitol. While some headlines are making hay about the color of her skin, she certainly appears to have been arrested for breaking the law. Something that is apparent, to me anyway, is that the Black Lives Matter movement is not one that sets out to persuade people but to intimidate people. Setting buildings on fire and other acts of violence don’t persuade people to believe what a movement is peddling. It repels people. Violence for violence’s sake is not effective to change minds.

Scott’s colleagues released statements in support of her.

Scott’s colleagues condemned her arrest on Twitter. “If you arrest the loudest voices fighting racial injustice in Louisville, we have to believe you want to silence the fight against racial injustice,” tweeted State Representative Josie Raymond.

“The words escape me right now,” said State Representative Charles Booker. This is happening in Louisville as we speak. My Shero, riding partner, and colleague in the State House, the sponsor of Breonna’s Law, was one of the people arrested. Absolutely and deeply unbelievable.”

No one was “silencing the fight against racial injustice” but the police were responding to acts of violence. Also arrested was Shameka Parrish-Wright, a leader for the Louisville chapter of the Bail Project, which has helped protesters post bond and get out of jail over the past four months of demonstrations.