Calls are mounting from activists and politicians for more information on how a grand jury decided not to charge Louisville police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot as police raided her home in March.

As protests and anger over the outcome continued to rise on Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) reiterated his calls for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) to post online whatever he can from his investigation without interfering with the pending criminal case against one ex-officer — who is charged with endangering neighbors the night of Taylor’s death. Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath said Cameron “needs to release the grand jury report now.”

Cameron has said releasing such information could interfere with ongoing investigations.

Here are some significant developments:
  • A suspect has been charged in the Wednesday night shooting of two police officers, police announced. One injured officer has been released, while the other is in stable condition, authorities said Thursday.
  • A turbulent night in Louisville resulted in the arrest of 127 people, according to a police spokesman.
  • Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) said Thursday afternoon that he was extending a curfew through the weekend amid protests following a grand jury’s decision.
  • Taylor’s family members, in their first public comments after the grand jury decision, expressed dismay that no police officers face homicide charges. They will speak at a news conference Friday morning, their attorneys said.
  • Police have killed 1,010 Americans in the past year. Despite the unpredictable events that lead to fatal shootings, police nationwide have shot and killed almost the same number of people each year — nearly 1,000 — since The Washington Post began tracking these numbers in 2015.
  • Sen. Tim Scott — the lone Black Republican in the Senate — said he is “disappointed that the only charge brought was completely unrelated to Ms. Taylor’s death.” In Congress, Democrats have been the loudest critics of the charging decision.
September 25, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT
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Kyle Rittenhouse defense plans to fight extradition to Wisconsin

By Kim Bellware

Attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday signaled they plan to fight his extradition to Wisconsin where the 17-year-old Illinois resident faces five felony charges stemming from accusations he fatally shot two people and wounded a third during protests in Kenosha last month.

In Wisconsin, 17-year-olds facing felony charges are tried as adults. If Rittenhouse is extradited and convicted, he could face life in prison.

John Pierce, a California-based attorney for Rittenhouse, told the judge during a virtual hearing Friday that Rittenhouse’s extradition involves “issues of some complexity” and that the defense plans to file a habeas corpus petition — a procedure that challenges the government’s right to hold someone in custody. The defense was given two weeks to file its petition.

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim said he didn’t know the basis on which the defense would fight extradition, noting the request is typically only challenged if documents are not in order, or if there are questions of whether a crime was a committed, if officials have the right person in custody or if the defendant has actually fled the state.

“In 20 years I haven’t seen one where somebody challenges extradition, especially once the governor’s warrant has been issued,” Nerheim said during a news conference following the hearing. “Often times what happens, people will waive extradition; we don’t even get to the point where we need a governor’s warrant.”

Authorities say Rittenhouse on Aug. 25 took a rifle and traveled roughly 20 miles from his home in Antioch, Ill., to Kenosha where protests and unrest had erupted in the wake of the police shooting of James Blake, a local resident who is Black.

Rittenhouse insisted he was at the scene to protect local businesses, but was later accused of killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 22, who were protesting at the scene.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys have said they plan to make self-defense the primary argument in his case.

Rittenhouse has been held without bond in the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, all while using a deadly weapon. He is also charged with possessing a dangerous weapon while younger than 18.

September 25, 2020 at 3:08 AM EDT
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One protester injured after two vehicles drive through Los Angeles protest march

By Tim Elfrink

One protester was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a vehicle sped through a crowd marching in on Thursday evening, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

A blue pickup truck tried to maneuver through the march around 9 p.m., police said, when an “altercation” began with some protesters.

Video from the scene shows the truck ramming into a person holding a sign. The person tumbles backward onto the asphalt as other protesters scream.

Other video shows the truck driving away from the scene at a high speed as protesters shouted out the truck’s license plate number. The police said that the truck’s driver has been identified, but it’s not clear if they have been arrested.

Later on at the same march, police said, a white Prius also drove through the crowd, leading several protesters to give chase in their own vehicles. A KCAL helicopter filmed the scene as protesters blocked the car on the street and several people surrounded it and began breaking the car’s windows. Eventually, the white car sped away again.

The driver of the Prius was detained by police several blocks away, police said; it’s unclear if they face charges. No one was injured in that case, police said.

The incidents happened as around 300 people marched from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to protest the grand jury’s decision not to criminally charge the Louisville officers who fatally shot Taylor earlier this year. The protests were largely peaceful, police said.

It’s the second night of demonstrations in Los Angeles, where hundreds marched downtown on Wednesday night.

September 25, 2020 at 2:15 AM EDT
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A woman killed. A cop shot. And no one legally responsible.

By David Fahrenthold

In the early hours of March 13, police broke down the door to an apartment in Louisville. Three men — one inside the apartment, and two officers trying to get in — fired guns at each other. A police officer was wounded. Breonna Taylor, an unarmed bystander who lived in the apartment, was killed.

And none of the three men who fired is charged with a crime.

Legal experts on Thursday said that Taylor case reveals an unresolved conflict in the law. A police tactic meant to keep officers safer — raiding homes late at night, giving occupants little or no warning — can conflict with “castle doctrine” laws meant to keep homeowners safe, by giving them leeway to use deady force against intruders.

September 25, 2020 at 1:30 AM EDT
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Louisville police arrest 24; protesters leave church as police clear out

By Derek Hawkins

LOUISVILLE — Around 11 p.m., police cleared out of the area surrounding the First Unitarian Church, allowing dozens of protesters to leave the property where they had taken refuge earlier in the night.

Until that point, many said they feared police were preparing to conduct mass arrests. Dozens of officers wearing riot gear and carrying zip ties had formed a perimeter around the structure, and numerous police transport vans were parked on the side streets, lights flashing.

“I feel like they’re trying to box us in,” said a protester who said he was 25 and gave his name as A.H. He said he was ready to spend the whole night in the church if necessary. “There’s room in there for all of us,” he said. “I’ll go in last if I need to.”

At least 24 people were arrested in other parts of the city overnight, said Louisville police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington. Charges included unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and riot in the first degree. Among those arrested was Shameka Parrish-Wright, a prominent organizer and leader of a bail reform group. Earlier in the evening, she pleaded for protesters to remain peaceful and stick together.

Some protesters at the church mingled in a courtyard, chatting and checking their phones. Others gathered near the entrance on the opposite side of the building, shouting at officers blocking the intersection. Inside, organizers and church leaders were handing out granola bars, water, almonds and bowls of penne with tomato sauce.

A sense of relief fell over the crowd when police started moving out. Protesters trickled out of the building, some heading back north back to Jefferson Square Park, while others arranged for friends to come pick them up.

The Rev. Dawn Cooley, the justice coordinator at another Unitarian church in town, said religious leaders decided earlier in the day to open their doors to protesters when they realized the 9 p.m. curfew was going to continue. She watched as protesters filed out of the building and down the street, still wary of the police.

“There is no trust with the police,” she said. “We made it clear that the church would be open, and this is where they came.”

Police said they converged on the area to conduct an arson investigation after windows were broken at a nearby library.

“Contrary to rumors on social media, the LMPD, at no time, was waiting for ‘a decision from legal about whether or not they can storm the property,’ ” Washington said in a statement. “No arrests were made for being on church property. No National Guard was deployed to address these issues.”

Once the investigation was complete, police added, officers dispersed and gave protesters directions on how to leave safely.

September 25, 2020 at 12:10 AM EDT
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Louisville protesters say man wearing brass knuckles threatened them outside church

By Derek Hawkins

LOUISVILLE — As the crowd took refuge at the First Unitarian Church, a brief confrontation broke out between protesters and a man they said they believed was an outside agitator.

The man, who was White, wearing glasses and dressed in a blue and white plaid shirt, approached a group of people standing near the church’s front steps and started peppering them with questions.

“He started saying, ‘Why are you here? Where are we? Why are y’all marching?’” said Eliza Thompson, a protester who was involved in the encounter.

Thompson said he also asked, “Who’s Breonna Taylor?”

A moment later, protesters said, the man reached into his back pocket, pulled out brass knuckles and put them on, threatening the group.

Protesters swarmed around the man and drove him backward into a parking lot across the alleyway.

“I think he was trying to instigate something so the police could come into the sanctuary and start arresting people,” Thompson said. “They just need a reason to come in. If we fought, they would roll in heavy.”

Another protester, who declined to give his name, said the man threatened him directly. “He pulled brass knuckles like he was trying to fight,” the protester said. “He was an agitator.”

The man lingered in the parking lot for several minutes afterward. He said he was a hospital nurse who lived in a building nearby. The man did not give his name.

Speaking to a reporter, he denied that he had weapons and said he only came out to see what was going on at the church.

“I’m friendly,” he said, adding that he was “on the left.”

He said protesters “got heated” when he asked what was going on. He left shortly after, crossing the parking lot and passing a line of riot police.

September 24, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT
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‘I’m tired, like every Black American’: Protesters back in streets after Taylor ruling

By Mark Guarino, Cleve Wootson and Annie Gowen

CHICAGO — Law enforcement across the country tightened tactics against racial justice protesters who have again taken to the streets in anger and exhaustion after a grand jury decided against homicide charges for the officers involved in the death of Louisville resident Breonna Taylor.

Protesters nationwide said they were feeling despair and outrage that the police officers responsible for the deaths of Black people — such as Eric Garner in New York, Philando Castile in Minnesota and a host of others — would not be held accountable.

A night of bruising dissent, chaos and looting in Louisville after the grand jury announcement Wednesday culminated with the shooting of two police officers — one has been released from the hospital and the other remains there in stable condition — and 127 arrests. At a news conference Thursday Louisville’s interim police chief, Robert Schroeder, appealed for calm, with the city bracing for protests to keep “going on for some time.”

September 24, 2020 at 10:45 PM EDT
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Governors seek to increase penalties for demonstrators

By Jessica Wolfrom

Some Republican governors have proposed legislation that would increase penalties for demonstrators amid the continuing unrest which has brought hundreds of thousands into the streets to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

The proposed legislation comes at a time when Republicans have ramped up rhetoric against the nationwide protests echoing President Trump’s message of “law and order,” which has become a central talking point in his reelection campaign.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who has openly opposed calls to reduce police department budgets, announced legislative proposals that would criminalize what he called “riot activity,” creating felony-level offenses carrying mandatory jail time for infractions committed at protests including destroying property, striking a law enforcement officer, using lasers or fireworks against officers and blocking hospital entrances.

Although the Constitution upholds the right to peaceably demonstrate, “the constitution does not provide the right to riot, to rob, to loot, to set fires, to physically harm anyone or anything," Abbott said Thursday, speaking at the Dallas Police Association headquarters, flanked by police union officials and other Texas leaders.

In Texas, “participating in a riot” is currently considered a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum of six months in jail, and defined as a gathering of seven or more people that in part, creates a danger to a person or property, the Texas Tribune reported. Abbott’s proposal would elevate this to a felony.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced new legislation this week aimed to tamp down on protests, making it a felony for groups of seven or more to cause property damage or injury to others. If passed, the legislation would make it a felony to obstruct roadways and topple monuments and would institute a mandatory minimum jail sentence for striking a law enforcement officer during a protest, including with projectiles.

“Our right to peacefully assemble is one of our most cherished as Americans, but throughout the country we’ve seen that right being taken advantage of by professional agitators, bent on sowing disorder and causing mayhem in our cities,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I will not allow this kind of violence to occur here in Florida.”

But these measures have been met with swift backlash from critics who say the move to crack down on protesters is an infringement on first amendment rights.

Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, called the governor’s proposal “undemocratic” and said it was hostile to Americans’ shared values. “This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives lost to racialized violence and brutality at the hands of law enforcement,” he said in a statement.

In August, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a bill into law making camping on state property, including the Capitol grounds, a felony. It also increased the penalties for protesters who spit on police, block streets or deface property with graffiti.

The legislation came in response to nearly two months of demonstrations in front of the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville over the summer, where protesters demanded the governor’s action on racial injustice and police brutality in response to the police killing of George Floyd in May.

“We are using a bazooka to go after a house fly here,” Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro (D) said on the Senate floor, according to the Tennessean. “Are we really saying that a citizen of this state can ... have a felony record because they camped on public property? That should be a bridge too far.”

But the bill’s backers say that the laws will protect law enforcement and prevent autonomous zones, like the one in Portland, Ore.

“We’ve seen lawlessness play out in the previous months here. We’ve seen it play out in a big way across the country. We don’t want that to be playing out again in our state,” Lee said. “Law enforcement will be instructed to follow the law, to enforce the law.”

But some protesters see the bill as a restriction on their First Amendment rights. “This is all about criminalizing peaceful protesting,” Justin Jones, 24, told The Washington Post in August.

September 24, 2020 at 10:05 PM EDT
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Louisville church is providing ‘safe sanctuary’ for demonstrators during curfew

By Robert Klemko

The Rev. Lori Kyle of the First Unitarian Church of Louisville says the church is providing “safe sanctuary” for demonstrators on church property throughout the curfew Thursday night and beyond. As the 9 p.m. curfew began in Thursday, a large group of marching demonstrators who began at Jefferson Square Park made their way to the church.

Police surrounded the property, but Kyle said a lieutenant told her their intention was not to arrest demonstrators but to sort through a handful of nearby arrests for property damage and to investigate an alleged arson at a nearby library.

“Their voices need to be heard,” Kyle said of the protesters. “The curfew inhibits that, and we’re trying to support voices and presence as the Black community sees fit.”

Peggy Muller, president of the church’s board of trustees, added, “First U has been working for justice for 70 years. Personally, I have children and grandchildren of a bureau of colors. I don’t want to ever have to find out that [someone] shot my kid and didn’t help. That just breaks my heart. We’re trying to help our children and future grandchildren.”

September 24, 2020 at 10:02 PM EDT
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One of two Louisville police officers shot Wednesday is out of the hospital

By Meryl Kornfield

Louisville Police Maj. Aubrey Gregory was on his feet Thursday, less than 24 hours after he was shot amid protests in the city over the charges stemming from the shooting of Breonna Taylor.

In a video shared by the police department, Gregory walked during a police “roll call” event as officers applauded him. The caption says Gregory is “still recovering from his injury and is not back to full duty.... yet.” Gregory is a special operations commander for the department, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The other officer hit during the shooting, Officer Robinson Desroches, is still recovering, according to the post. Desroches was shot in the abdomen. Gregory was hit in the hip.

The shooting happened as tensions flared during protests Wednesday night. Larynzo Johnson, a 26-year-old Louisville man, was arrested in the shooting and faces charges of first-degree assault of a police officer and first-degree wanton endangerment.

Last night, two LMPD officers were shot in the line of duty during our response to the local protests. We’re happy to share this short video of Majory Gregory, walking in to one of our roll calls less than 24 hours after being shot. Major Gregory is still recovering from his injury and is not back to full duty.... yet. The other officer shot is still recovering.

Posted by Louisville Metro Police Department on Thursday, September 24, 2020
September 24, 2020 at 9:11 PM EDT
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Louisville police investigate email by officer disparaging protesters

By Meryl Kornfield

The Louisville Metro Police Department is looking into an August email by a police major to her colleagues vilifying Black Lives Matter protesters, calling them unimportant and predicting “they will be the ones washing our cars,” the department spokesperson confirmed.

Maj. Bridget Hallahan wrote to other officers in her division that the protesters and anti-fascist activists were “punks,” according to the images of the email obtained by Louisville-based journalist Phillip Bailey and the Louisville Courier Journal. LMPD spokesperson Sgt. Lamont Washington told The Washington Post that the email is being looked into and that Hallahan remains in her regular job capacity.

Hallahan confirmed to NBC News that she sent the message and said she has nine days left before retirement. A listed phone number for Hallahan was disconnected Thursday evening.

“These ANTIFA and BLM people, especially the ones who just jumped on the bandwagon ‘yesterday’ because they became ‘woke’ (insert eye roll here), do not deserve a second glance or thought from us,” Hallahan wrote to her colleagues in August. “Our little pinky toe nails have more character, morals and ethics, than these punks have in their entire body.”

She continued to degrade the protesters before offering her office as a space for officers to “vent together.”

“Do not stoop to their level,” she wrote. “Do not respond to them. If we do, we only validate what they did. Don’t make them important, because they are not. They will be the ones washing our cars, cashing us out at the Walmart, or living in their parents’ basement playing [the video game Call of Duty] for their entire life.”

After the email circulated online, critics called for her firing, arguing that her email unfairly mocked people with minimum-wage jobs.

“There is dignity in washing cars and working at Wal Mart,” Kentucky sports radio host Matt Jones tweeted. “Acting like those who have those jobs are lesser is unacceptable from a police officer.”

Louisville Councilman Bill Hollander told the Courier Journal that he recommended to Mayor Greg Fischer that Hallahan be relieved of her job.

“Our police officers have a very difficult job and they don’t need this kind of inappropriate communication,” he told the newspaper.

September 24, 2020 at 9:06 PM EDT
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Demonstrators march amid concerns of police crackdown

By Maria Sacchetti

Demonstrators marched in the streets in Louisville as the 9 p.m. curfew neared Thursday, despite concerns of a police crackdown.

Marchers holding signs and chanting “Say her name” and “You can’t stop the revolution” made their way from their hub at Jefferson Square Park after leaders warned protesters to be careful. The night before, two police officers were shot and one man was arrested.

Both officers are improving, said a police spokesperson, Jessie Halladay.

But some demonstrators feared authorities would resort to violence after curfew, as they vented their devastation that none of the officers who participated in the raid that led to 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’s death would be charged with her homicide. One officer has been indicted on a count of wanton endangerment after allegedly firing blindly into her building.

“We’re out here for Breonna Taylor,” one protester said, speaking into a megaphone.

As a few hundred demonstrators — wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts and carrying signs, including one that said “Justice for Breonna Taylor” and “Shame on Kentucky” — marched, others stayed behind in the park. Some hastily assembled shields in case the police used force. Some had pizza trays. Others had tennis rackets. Still others made their own using staple guns and strips of plywood.

“Better safe than sorry,” one protester said.

Protesters came from Louisville but also South Carolina, Indiana and other locations, saying that posting on social media and venting their anger at the decision was not enough.

Demonstrators said Taylor was a taxpayer whose labor paid for the police to do their job. She was an EMT who helped people, they said. She was killed in her own home. “Breonna was asleep,” one sign at the park said.

Demonstrators cursed and shook their fists at authorities watching them from rooftops.

They felt frustrated, angry, helpless. So they marched.

“I’m heartbroken,” Rosie Henderson, 47, who watches over a shrine to Taylor in the center of Jefferson Square Park, said a few hours before the demonstration. “That’s not justice.”

Demonstrators were peaceful during the day, sharing slices of pizza and donated Gatorade, handing out masks and gloves. But around 8:30 p.m. Louisville police announced the 9 p.m. curfew. “Please begin heading home now,” an emergency phone alert said.

Minutes later, police said demonstrators were breaking windows on 4th Street and declared an “unlawful assembly.”

“The curfew begins at 9 p.m.,” police said again at 8:47 p.m. “Violation of the curfew is an arrestable offense.”

September 24, 2020 at 8:56 PM EDT
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Officers recovering, suspect charged after shooting

By Mark Berman and Marisa Iati

The interim police chief in Louisville said Thursday that his city and officers are facing “a very tense and emotional time” following the announcement that no officers would be charged for shooting Breonna Taylor, whose death earlier in the year spurred months of protests.

Two Louisville police officers were shot amid demonstrations Wednesday night, hours after a grand jury revealed it had cleared the two officers who shot Taylor and indicted a third who fired into her neighbors’ apartment.

Larynzo Johnson fired at officers with a handgun as they carried out “crowd control operations,” according to an arrest citation. Johnson, a resident of Kentucky, fled the scene but was captured, police said.

Johnson has been charged with two counts of assault and 14 counts of wanton endangerment in connection with the shooting, officials said Thursday.

Maj. Aubrey Gregory was struck in the hip, treated and released, while Officer Robinson Desroches was hit in the abdomen and is in stable condition, police said.

“For all of us, it is a very tense and emotional time,” Robert Schroeder, interim chief of the Louisville police, said at the online briefing. “I think our officers are in good spirits, given the conditions we’re in right now.”

Schroeder declined to discuss a suspected motive in the case or whether police believe Johnson was a protester, saying it would be premature to release any information. He also declined to elaborate on how Johnson was identified.

Police made 127 arrests across the city, Schroeder said, and he described 16 incidents of looting in the region. He also said the law enforcement footprint on the ground in Louisville would be “very similar” Thursday night, when more demonstrations are expected to protest the outcome in the Taylor case.

The grand jury’s decision Wednesday prompted a wave of anger in Louisville and beyond, with people marching in cities across the country to decry the outcome of the probe into what happened when police shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, while serving a warrant at her apartment.

Daniel Cameron, the state’s attorney general, said the two officers who shot Taylor were justified in using force because her boyfriend had fired a shot at them first, hitting one of them. Police were serving the warrant shortly after midnight on March 13 and Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, said he feared intruders were entering the home.

The third officer who opened fire, Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a nearby apartment that housed three people, including a child. Hankison was fired earlier in the summer, while the two other officers remain on administrative leave, officials said.

Hannah Knowles contributed to this report.

September 24, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT
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Louisville attempts to heal after a night of unrest over Breonna Taylor decision

By Maria Sacchetti, Derek Hawkins and Griff Witte

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky's largest city was attempting to heal on Thursday, with two police officers recovering from bullet wounds sustained during a night of unrest and officials pleading for calm amid continued outrage over the failure to charge anyone in connection with Breonna Taylor's death.

As Louisville braced for a second day of protests over the Taylor decision, officials urged those demonstrating to stay peaceful and take to the streets only during daytime hours.

Russell Coleman, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, issued a terse warning that his office will charge those perceived to be acting outside the bounds of “peaceable” protest. The demand came after 127 people were arrested amid chaotic scenes of fires and looting Wednesday night.

September 24, 2020 at 7:44 PM EDT
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Demonstrators confront self-styled militia groups

By Robert Klemko

On Thursday night at 7:15 p.m., a large group of protesters from Jefferson Square Park descended upon a nearby Hampton Inn where more than two dozen members of several self-styled militia groups, including the Oathkeepers, were staging for the night. As men readied long guns and donned tactical vests, the man leading the group of protesters, Chris Will, 34, of Milwaukee, led activists into the parking lot where they berated mostly silent armed men in fatigues. A handful of arguments ensued, and one of the Oathkeepers said a lawn chair of his was stolen.