The Louisville Metro Police Department cleared the property of activists protesting federal immigration policies from the sidewalk Thursday morning.
The activists, who call themselves “Occupy ICE,” have camped outside of the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement building for more than two weeks.
LMPD spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said officers arrived at the Occupy ICE camp at 6 a.m. and asked activists to clear property obstructing the sidewalks within 15 minutes. By 8:40 a.m. only some of the activists’ signs remained.
“After several days – about 16, 17 days of trying to get them to work with us – they were still blocking the street,” Halladay said. “As long as they stay within the area that they have been asked to stay in, then they’re free to protest there as they like.”
Halladay said no arrests or citations were made, but unclaimed items were taken to LMPD’s property room.
Occupy ICE tweeted a statement and posted on Instagram Thursday afternoon. The group said LMPD’s actions were “heavy-handed.” The group said LMPD showed up in riot gear and seized property that had been collected from community donations over the past 17 days.
— occupyicelou (@occupyicelou) July 19, 2018
In part, the statement reads:
“We strongly condemn the illegal actions of LMPD. They have continued to show complete disregard for our right to peaceful assembly and free speech, and have proven themselves to be aligned with the white supremacists and agitators intent on destroying our movement.”
LMPD first said the camp was not in compliance with state law after Occupy ICE activists and counter protesters met July 7.
Citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, LMPD warned activists they must clear 4-feet of sidewalk space for people to get through or the city would seek “legal relief.” At a second in-person review, LMPD Lieutenant Ron Heady said Occupy ICE had improved its space but was still not in compliance.
This story has been updated.