LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Protesters arrested in June and charged with inciting a riot appeared in Fayette District Court for the first time on Thursday morning. Several were there to confirm their willingness to take part in a court-ordered diversion program. Successful completion of those community service hours will allow for their records to be expunged.
Other demonstrators were not given that option, and are now headed to trial to fight their charges.
"There was nothing in the city that burned. There was nothing in the city that was destroyed. So the charges of inciting a riot? Where's the riot? Find the riot. That's why we're going to trial," said Sarah Williams, who was among those arrested.
Daniel Whitley, Sr. the attorney for many of the protesters, was granted a continuance of 60 days. He'll have until Dec. 10 to poke holes in the Commonwealth's case.
"We firmly believe that way these individuals were treated in the community and the way the police department portrayed them on bodycam footage is not accurate," Whitley said. "As I told them before, we're in for a day in court."
Whitley did say he'd prefer to keep this case out of court and believes The commonwealth's attorney will negotiate to that end.
Williams, however, might not be willing to accept anything less than total exoneration.
"That the charges be dropped," she said of her desired outcome. "If you look at what happened in Louisville and the felony riot charges put on those protesters when things were burning in the city, and things were being destroyed, and all of those charges got dropped. So why are we even here?"
"I am not a violent person. I'm a peaceful protester," she added.