Protesters in Louisville, Ky., confronted a group of armed militia members Thursday as the city prepares for the second night of demonstrations over the lack of criminal charges in connection to the death of Breonna Taylor.
A group of Black Lives Matter supporters were marching through the downtown area when some of them confronted armed counter-protesters, some of whom were dressed in military-style clothing and holding long guns, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. One of the counter-protesters told the newspaper he was from North Carolina and was part of the Oath Keepers.
On its website, the group described itself as a non-partisan association of current and former police officers, military members and first responders who pledge to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
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The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the group as having an anti-government ideology. The man said they were in the city to protect businesses.
"We're not here to start nothing," he told reporters.
One protester could be heard on a video posted to Twitter pleading with Black Lives Matter supporters to not engage the militia members.
"They shot innocent people already," he said. "Don't act like they won't do it."
Elsewhere in the city, protesters moved onto Interstate 40 and blocked traffic while chanting: "Breonna Taylor!" Images and videos posted online appeared to show some protesters damaging property, including a library window. In one video, a police officer can be heard saying the library was set on fire.
The extent of the damage was not clear.
Around 8 p.m., Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, appeared in Jefferson Square Park where she stood at a memorial for her daughter. Under a jacket, she wore a white T-shirt with a picture of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the words "Mitch's B----," referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal.
The gatherings took place despite city-imposed curfew from 9 p.m.to 6:30 a.m. through the weekend in anticipation of the kind of unrest that occurred Wednesday night after a grand jury declined to indict three police officers in the police shooting death of Taylor.
One former officer was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment but not in Taylor's death. He was fired in June.
Hours after the decision, protests erupted in several cities. In Louisville, 127 people were arrested and two police officers were shot.