Black Faith Leaders urge charges against protesters be dropped

Black Faith Leaders of Lexington and Vicinity call on Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts to drop charges from protesters in 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Black Faith Leaders in Lexington once again are calling on Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts to drop charges against people who were charged during racial justice protests downtown in June of 2020.

“After all, protesting is the language of those who are not being heard,” says reverend Keith Tyler, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

June 13, 2020, approximately 20 people were charged with various offenses such as inciting a riot, disorderly conduct or resisting arrest after laying down in front of the police station. County Attorney Roberts has refused to drop the charges.

“Bringing these charges gives the appearance of using the judicial system as an instrument to punish people for exposing policing inequities and inequalities,” says Rev. Tyler. “That is why the Black Faith Leaders of Lexington and Vicinity (BFLLV), the local branch of the NAACP, the ACLU and so many others repeatedly urged County Attorney Roberts to drop these inexplicable charges.”

The BFLLV say they’ve made attempts to talk with Roberts, but haven’t heard from him.

“We started making this plea back in 2020 and from that time forward I know that our sub-committee that works on law enforcement issues sought to have some conversation with him,” says Reverend L. Clark Williams, director of ministries at Shiloh Baptist Church.

ABC 36 News reached out to Roberts, he told us everyone is treated fairly with no exemptions being given on charges. Roberts explained all but one of the protesters arrested handled it in mediation, with only one of the primary protest organizers, Sarah Williams, set to go to trial this summer. Roberts says the ministers are “mistaken” when calling the charges “inexplicable”. He says on the night in question, the protesters made an announcement telling those willing to be arrested to stand in one area with those unwilling to be in another.

The BFLLV say with the county attorney being an elected position, the time to “hold elected officials accountable is Election Day”.

Roberts, the incumbent democrat, is being challenged by democrat Angela Evans in the May 17 primary. No republican candidates filed for the primary election.

The BFLLV encouraged people to attend a racial justice and accountability candidate forum being held Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Lyric Theatre to hear directly from Roberts and Evans. Mayoral candidates are also scheduled to attend.

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