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Activists call for cancellation of 2020 Kentucky Derby, accuse City of cracking down on demonstrations ahead of event

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Posted at 12:06 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 18:33:23-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Protest groups working to find justice for Breonna Taylor want the Kentucky Derby canceled this year.

Until Freedom, a national group that moved to Louisville to focus on Taylor's case, held a press conference on Thursday - five months to the day since Taylor was killed in a police raid gone wrong. They urged Louisville and Kentucky leaders to take action against the officers involved in the shooting.

"You want to have a successful Derby and other occasions that help to make this city look good - arrest the cops," said Tamika Mallory, the co-founder of Until Freedom. "Arrest the cops."

Until Freedom and other organized protest groups have been marching through the streets of Louisville. They're now accusing the city of cracking down on these protests to lighten the mood before this year's postponed Derby.

"It is about suppressing our voices, and we want Mayor Fischer to know that we're very clear that what they are attempting to do is silence people on the way to the Kentucky Derby," said Mallory. "That is really what this is about - trying to intimidate folks, and make sure that people feel uncomfortable, and that less and less people are in the street as they lead towards the Derby."

Mallory accused city leaders of trying to make Louisville look good in front of a national audience, instead of addressing community issues like systemic racism.

"Obviously, the Derby matters more than a black woman who was killed in her home for absolutely no reason at all," said Mallory.

Another protest group, No Justice No Peace Louisville, wants Kentuckians to boycott the event if the Derby goes on as planned.

"The City is going to continue with the Derby, and event planners are still marking up their calendars, and trying to recruit people to come here and be a part of a celebratory, recreational event - and there's nothing to celebrate," said Aaron Jordan, a leader within the group. "There's nothing fun. There's nothing leisure about what's going on. So, I condemn anybody who wants to be a part of the Kentucky Derby. If you want to be on the right side of history, you'll cancel the Kentucky Derby, and you'll put your energy into getting justice for Breonna Taylor."

Until Freedom also announced their plans for "Good Trouble Tuesday." It's an event that will be held on August 25. They say the event will be on par with the group's previous protest on the lawn of Attorney General Daniel Cameron's home. That demonstration led to 87 arrests.