Gov. Beshear to Call Up National Guard to Louisville After Demonstrations Over Death of Breonna Taylor Turn Violent

"I hope everybody knows that this is a big step and a tough step and it's not one intended to silence any voice because I want to hear. But I want to make sure, at the end of the day, that we are all safe."

click to enlarge Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear - Photo: YouTube screengrab
Photo: YouTube screengrab
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

In a statement on YouTube on Saturday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he has called up the National Guard to Louisville after demonstrations over the shooting death of 26-year-old black EMT Breonna Taylor by police officers turned violent. 

"I hope everybody knows that this is a big step and a tough step and it's not one intended to silence any voice because I want to hear," he said. "But I want to make sure, at the end of the day, that we are all safe."

According to reports, Louisville Metro Police officers forced their way into Taylor's apartment early on the morning of March 13 while executing a search warrant for a narcotics investigation and shot her multiple times after her boyfriend fired a gun at them. Taylor's mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit saying the officers didn't knock and the suspect wanted for the narcotics had already been arrested. They did not find drugs in Taylor's apartment.

Her death has sparked protests and demonstrations in recent days, some of which have turned violent. Thursday night, seven people were shot in downtown Louisville; Mayor Greg Fischer said the gunfire came from the crowd and not police. 

At last night's demonstrations, it appears police were shooting pepper balls at the crowd, including at reporters.


An unscheduled demonstration in Cincinnati last night over the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd while in police custody — as well as the death of Taylor and other recent racially motivated killings, like that of Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery — escalated into clashes with police and destruction of property in downtown and Over-the-Rhine. So far, Mayor John Cranley and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine have not yet responded. 

Here is Gov. Beshear's statement in entirety:

"The death of Breonna Taylor is tragic and it's led to an outpouring of emotions of frustration, of fatigue and of the belief by many of our Kentuckians that justice isn't available to all of us in our state and in our society. While I can never pretend to understand the depths of those feelings, what I can do is pledge to listen and to do everything I can to help moving forward. 

The demonstrations in Louisville have all started peacefully, but what we have seen — especially last night — and what our intelligence says is going to happen tonight are outside groups moving in trying to create violence to harm everybody who is on those streets. We cannot let Breonna's legacy be marred by violence and we can't let our streets turn violent.

So today I'm taking a step to ensure the safety of everybody by calling up the National Guard to help keep peace in Louisville. 

I hope everybody knows that this is a big step and a tough step and it's not one intended to silence any voice because I want to hear. But I want to make sure, at the end of the day, that we are all safe." 

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.