The remaining charges have been dropped against Rep. Attica Scott, her daughter Ashanti, organizer Shameka Parrish-Wright and 15 others for participating in a racial justice protest in September.
Scott, Parrish-Wright and other protesters emerged from the Jefferson County Courthouse on Monday to cheers and shouts of “drop the charges” from a crowd of about two dozen activists.
“Today’s decision is not what justice for Breonna Taylor looks like. We are still fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor, but we are grateful these bogus misdemeanor charges were dropped,” Rep. Scott said during a press conference outside the courthouse.
Scott was arrested in September on charges of unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and felony rioting in connection with an attempted arson of a public library. Scott’s own livestream from that night indicated she was not involved in the arson attempt.
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell dropped the felony charges in October, and has now dropped the remaining misdemeanor charges against all 18 people arrested with Scott that night.
A spokesman for the county attorney said O’Connell determined that dropping the charges was the right thing to do for those involved and the larger community.
“Prosecutors have a higher duty than other lawyers to be ministers of justice and not just an advocate,” said spokesman Josh Abner. “This means we must always seek the truth and act upon it, rather than seek a victory in court. Our independent review of these cases demonstrates this responsibility.”
Police have made about 800 arrests since protests began in late May. In at least 236 of those cases, judges have dismissed the charges or the county attorney has asked they be dismissed, Abner said.
Scott’s attorney, Ted Shouse, represents people charged in more than 20 remaining protest-related cases, and works with a team of volunteer lawyers who are representing about 300 defendants. He said police often arrested whoever they could get their hands on amid protests for racial justice.
“The vast majority of these charges are completely without merit… It was catch as catch can in the early days of the protests,” Shouse said.
For Parrish-Wright, who has helped organize protests and runs the Louisville Bail Project, it’s a small but important victory, she said. Had she been been found guilty, the charges could have ruined her career.
Parrish-Wright said there are still more than 500 protesters facing charges, and she wants them to know that they have not been forgotten.
“And so we want to make sure nobody gets left behind, nobody feels like because they are not seen or they are not in news stories, they are not important,” Parrish-Wright said. “Every protester is important.”
Correction: Attica Scott’s live feed showed she was not involved in an arson attempt at the library during protests. The word ‘not’ was inadvertently omitted in a previous version.