Pandemic Poses Unique Challenges For Protesters

89.3 WFPL News Louisville · Pandemic Poses Unique Challenges for Protesters
On Thursday afternoon, not long before the rain started, a crowd gathered in Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville. They’ve been here every afternoon, protesting the police killing of Breonna Taylor. 

As people come up to give speeches and lead chants, Rosie Henderson sits at the ready. 

“I’m wiping down the mics with disinfecting wipes,” said Henderson. “We’ve been as safe as we can, so nobody can say that we just out here protesting and not trying to be safe.”

Henderson has been out at the protests every evening, and she’s appointed herself chief safety stickler. She’s making sure everyone has masks and hand sanitizer. 

“If we’re going to be out here, we’ve got to be safe,” she said. “Because the coronavirus is real and it is going up every day.”

For nearly two months, downtown Louisville was a ghost town, as businesses and restaurants closed in an attempt to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Beshear Administration Ends Records Appeal, Will Pay KyCIR’s Legal Fees

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration has agreed to settle public records lawsuits filed by two state cabinets against the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. The settlements mark the end of a legal struggle that began in November 2017, when KyCIR requested six years of sexual harassment complaints through Kentucky’s Open Records Act, which gives the public the right to access records kept by the state government. 

Under the previous administration of Gov. Matt Bevin, the Labor and Finance and Administration cabinets sought to keep sealed the names of state employees who were accused of sexual harassment in cases where an internal investigation didn’t substantiate the allegations. The terms of the settlement will require the state to pay KyCIR about $53,000 in legal fees and release the unredacted versions documents sought by KyCIR, according to KyCIR’s attorney Jon Fleischaker. 

“The public has a right to know what their government is doing, and KyCIR will always fight for that right,” Louisville Public Media President Stephen George said in an email. “I applaud the Beshear administration’s acknowledgement of the transparency that state law requires.” 

Louisville Public Media is the parent company of KyCIR. Most state agencies complied with KyCIR’s initial 2017 request for documents related to sexual harassment allegations against state employees, although the transparency of their responses varied.