A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky National Guard troops remain in Louisville for second night to provide community support

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky National Guard troops remain deployed in Louisville for a second consecutive night on Sunday.

Called out on Saturday at the request of Gov. Andy Beshear and the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Guard says they will continue to provide support in and around Louisville to help provide safety and protection to residents and property.

More than 400 KNG members are on duty, from several different units. They include the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery based in Lexington, 198th Military Police Battalion in Louisville, 761st Firefighting Team out of Greenville, Army Aviators from 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade out of Frankfort, Communications Specialists from Joint Forces Headquarters in Frankfort and Air Guardsmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing in Louisville.

Protesters sit at an intersection during a protest over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was fatally shot by police in her home in March. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, via Kentucky Today)

“Saturday night, our Guardsmen partnered with LMPD to help bring a sense of security to the local population,” said Brig. Gen. Rob Larkin, joint task force commander for the Kentucky National Guard. “We are thankful that we were able to support citizens in their right to protest and help protect those who are most vulnerable. With units based inside the city limits, many of our Army and Air Guardsmen call Louisville home, so many felt like we were supporting our own.”

While a total of around 40 people were arrested on Friday and Saturday nights, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who said the Saturday protests were “significantly more peaceful” than the previous two nights.

The Guard members were sent to the state’s largest city following the violence over the death of Breonna Taylor, a black EMT worker, who was shot to death at her home in March by police, an incident for which Beshear has called for a full investigation.

The protests followed the release of a 911 call Taylor’s boyfriend made on March 13, moments after the 26-year-old was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door. No drugs were found in the home.

A curfew imposed on Saturday by Fischer remained in effect for Sunday night, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 6 a.m.

“I put the curfew in place in order to give people the opportunity to protest during the day,” he said. “You set the right tone and the right purpose and for that I’m very grateful.”

Taylor’s case has attracted national headlines alongside the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery who was killed while jogging in Georgia in February, and the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis. That officer has been charged in Floyd’s death.

The deaths of Arbery and Floyd were both captured on video.

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