Republican lawmakers in Kentucky are pushing bail reform after a Black Lives Matter-linked bail fund sprung an activist who was charged with shooting at a Jewish Democrat running for mayor in Louisville.
On Monday, activist Quintez Brown was charged with attempted murder and wanton endangerment after shots were fired at Democrat mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg and members of his staff.
On Wednesday, Brown was back on the street, thanks to the Louisville Community Bail Fund, which helped those arrested in 2020 rioting over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor get out of jail. The fund put down $100,000 to get Brown out of jail.
In response, Kentucky legislators Jason Nemes and John Blanton are pushing two bills – one to block bail funds from releasing some individuals who have been arrested and a second that allows judges to deny bail for some crimes, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“Now, this guy who attempted to assassinate the frontrunner for Louisville mayor is walking free two days later. I mean, that’s abhorrent. It shocks the conscience. And I think it’s frightening,” Nemes said.
He said Democrats and other public officials are also stunned.
“Some of them were very upset and scared, not only for Craig, who a lot of them know, love, and support but for themselves,” Nemes said. “You know, is this the way it is—you can target a public servant, and all of a sudden, you’re walking two days later out of jail? People have been stunned. We need to change that.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that even his supporters admit that Brown’s mental state is highly uncertain, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
“But guess what: He’s already been let out of jail. A left-wing bail fund partnered with BLM Louisville to bail him out,” McConnell said. “Less than 48 hours after this activist tried to literally murder a politician, the radical left bailed their comrade out of jail.”
“It is just jaw-dropping. The innocent people of Louisville deserve better,” he said.
Greenberg said in a statement that Brown’s release shows that our “criminal justice system is clearly broken.”
“It is nearly impossible to believe that someone can attempt murder on Monday and walk out of jail on Wednesday,” Greenberg said.
“If someone is struggling with a mental illness and is in custody, they should be evaluated and treated in custody. Sadly, like others who suffer from a broken system, my team and family have been traumatized again by this news,” he said.
Chanelle Helm, a Black Lives Matter leader, said the group did not believe Brown would get any help in jail.
“Jail is a final destination for black folks in this state,” Helm said, adding that “[J]ails and prisons do not rehabilitate people. The community’s been doing that.”
A Friday statement from Black Lives Matter Louisville and the Louisville Community Bail Fund said Brown needs “direct mental health support.”
“As many activists and organizers discover, battling racial trauma as a young person is hard when many of our communities don’t know how to practice healing, and this work is difficult,” the statement said.
But Greenberg said there should be no free pass for those who commit violence.
“Regardless of what leads someone to commit a violent crime, there must be consequences,” he said. “Gun violence is unacceptable under any circumstances for any reason anywhere.”