LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky State Rep. Attica Scott, her daughter and activist Shamika Parrish-Wright are suing Louisville Metro Police officers over their arrests on felony rioting charges during a September 2020 protest in the wake of the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case.
Attorney Vanessa B. Cantley on Monday filed a lawsuit on behalf of Attica Scott, Ashanti Scott and Parrish-Wright in Jefferson Circuit Court against former interim LMPD Chief Robert Schroeder, Officer Alex Eades and an unnamed officer, according to court documents. The women claim Eades and the unnamed officer violated their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection and inflicted "severe emotional distress" when they were arrested Sept. 24, 2020, during protests in Louisville, the lawsuit says.
The Scotts and Parrish-Wright, who is vying to become Louisville's next mayor, were among a group marching through downtown the day after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced no charges would be brought against the LMPD officers who fired shots into Taylor's apartment in connection to the 26-year-old Black woman's death. At the time of their arrests, LMPD accused the women of being part of a group of demonstrators who caused damage at multiple locations, including smashing a window and throwing a flare inside of the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library.
The Scotts and Parrish-Wright pleaded not guilty to all charges, which Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell later dismissed. In their lawsuit, the women said they were trying to get to First Unitarian Church — located directly across from the library at South Fourth and York streets — to seek shelter from a 9 p.m. curfew and had no part in damaging the building.
The Scotts and Parrish-Wright claim in the lawsuit that LMPD barricaded areas near the church, which prevented them from reaching what was declared a safe space for protesters.
"Plaintiffs were not permitted to pass the barricade and reach sanctuary, despite having plenty of time to do so prior the above-mentioned curfew," the lawsuit says.
The women are suing for defamation, assault and negligence, according to court documents.
"I’m joining this lawsuit against LMPD because we deserve to live free from overpolicing, racial profiling, and police violence," Attica Scott said Monday in a statement. "My daughter and I were literally walking while Black when police targeted us for arrest prior to the unnecessary curfew that had been implemented — a curfew that was inequitably enforced and only used against those of us exercising our first amendment rights."
LMPD declined to comment on the lawsuit. The department typically does not comment on pending litigation.
The Scotts and Parrish-Wright's lawsuit is the second filed recently against LMPD officers for their conduct during protests for racial justice. Denorver "Dee" Garrett in April sued LMPD Officer Aaron Ambers, who was caught on camera punching him several times in the face during an arrest at Jefferson Square Park.
On June 9, LMPD Officer Cory Evans was federally charged for allegedly hitting a kneeling protester in the back of the head with a riot stick during a May 31, 2020, demonstration. The next day, the department said it served Evans with pre-termination paperwork.
In August 2020, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a lawsuit alleging use of force and intimidation by Louisville police against protesters.
"We must stop LMPD from using the judicial process to further bully us and our non-violent protest," Parrish-Wright said in a statement. "I believe in law and justice and they must be applied equally. LMPD continues to fail our community. They have too many officers who do not follow standard operating procedures and who make our neighborhoods unsafe."
This story may be updated.
- Police arrest 26, including Kentucky State Rep. Attica Scott, during Louisville protests Thursday
- Felony rioting charges dismissed against Rep. Attica Scott, 17 other Louisville protesters
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