Home Breonna Taylor WATCH: Louisville Protesters Gather at Unitarian Church to Stay Out Past Curfew

WATCH: Louisville Protesters Gather at Unitarian Church to Stay Out Past Curfew

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A large group in Louisville, Kentucky, reportedly used a church as a “safe space” Thursday night during the ongoing Breonna Taylor protests.

Courier-Journal columnist Maggie Menderski tweeted a photo of the crowd assembled outside the First Unitarian Church:

I’m at First Unitarian Church on South Fourth where protesters are using as a safe space. I’ve been here since about 6 p.m. with organizers. It’s 9:01 — one minute past curfew.

Churches are not included in the city’s curfew. @courierjournal pic.twitter.com/frHaZnq845

— Maggie Menderski (@MaggieMenderski) September 25, 2020

The curfew officials announced Wednesday did not include churches, according to Menderski.

“By authority of the mayor, a county-wide curfew will go into effect for the next 72-hours between 9 pm and 6:30 am. Please plan ahead,” the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) tweeted Wednesday night.

A few minutes later, the columnist shared video footage of the protesters and said church members had prepared snacks for them inside the building’s garden:

Protesters are asking the crowd to move inside the garden, where churchgoers have arranged snacks, water etc.

Most are staying put.

“I’m not sleeping here, I’m not spending the night at this church,” one man shouted. @courierjournal pic.twitter.com/ySpc0ef6kz

— Maggie Menderski (@MaggieMenderski) September 25, 2020

In a subsequent tweet, Menderski said a church member claimed that police outside were “awaiting a decision from legal about whether or not they can storm the property”:

I’m being told from one of the people with the church that the police are awaiting a decision from legal about whether or not they can storm the property.

The church is trying to get everyone inside so that if the police come — they can shut the door. @courierjournal pic.twitter.com/qbZPD0JhTv

— Maggie Menderski (@MaggieMenderski) September 25, 2020

Minutes later, Brendan Gutenschwager tweeted video footage of a man telling reporters that the church opened its doors as a “sanctuary” for the protesters:

A church leader explains the sanctuary status of these grounds for protesters at First Unitarian Church in Louisville #Louisville #LouisvilleProtests #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/heOJPc2zNA

— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) September 25, 2020

We are at first Unitarian Churxh, which has offered sanctuary to protesters. pic.twitter.com/87utVULwGf

— Ryan Van Velzer (@RyanVanVelzer) September 25, 2020

“On the emergency orders, houses of worship are exempt from the curfew,” said the man who identified himself as Brother Tim.

“So we’ve opened this up … or the church has opened this up as a sanctuary zone. A place to get refreshments, a place to get legal aid if they need, a place to see medics if they need it. But it’s a safe zone for people,” he explained.

Later, a man who was reportedly outside the church was heard yelling, “All you white motherfuckers leave!”:

White people have just been threatened with assault and kicked out of the church sanctuary grounds. Almost all press were demanded to leave as well #Louisville #LouisvilleProtests #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/NK1cJVnBU8

— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) September 25, 2020

At 9:14 p.m., News Director and Director of Investigations for the Courier-Journal Mike Trautmann tweeted that an LMPD spokesperson told him the police “have absolutely no intention of storming the church that is offering sanctuary to protesters.”

“The spokeswoman wanted to assure people that isn’t true,” he stated.

WDRB News reporter Chad K. Mills later tweeted video footage showing officers in a line outside the church and said the clergy allowed protesters to “seek refuge” on the grounds to avoid being arrested for breaking the curfew:

.@LMPD forms lines around the First Unitarian Church in #Louisville as clergy allow demonstrators to seek refuge on church grounds to avoid arrest during curfew. @WDRBNews #LouisvilleKy pic.twitter.com/ppH6VTVbbV

— Chad K. Mills (@ChadKMills) September 25, 2020

Nearly one hour later, Gutenschwager tweeted footage of the protesters leaving the church grounds:

Protesters are now leaving the church after receiving word they can disperse without being arrested #Louisville #LouisvilleProtests pic.twitter.com/U8zc5qYanR

— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) September 25, 2020

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