“Protesters” calling for an end to evictions and rent during the COVID-19 pandemic used pieces of old furniture to block the intersection of Sixth and Jefferson streets on Saturday.
They left mattresses, couches, televisions, dressers, and a washing machine in the middle of downtown Louisville streets, which borders the Hall of Justice, Metro Hall, and Jefferson Square Park.
Metro Police responded to the area around 4 p.m., and used marked and unmarked police cars to block the intersection of Fifth and Jefferson streets so no one could drive toward the litter & furniture. LMPD officers removed the furniture from the intersection and placed it into a garbage truck with the help of Metro Public Works, according to a police livestream from the demonstration on the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Facebook page.
Landlords in Louisville are proceeding with the normal legal steps required to kick tenants out of their property, despite Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order halting evictions in Kentucky during the pandemic. As of Friday, at least 40 evictions for nonpayment of rent have been filed in Jefferson County.
Kentucky’s Supreme Court in July said that landlords could once again go to county courts to evict tenants for failing to pay rent beginning Aug. 1st, putting the courts system at odds with Gov. Beshear’s order. Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton, who oversees the court’s administrative office, has declined to comment on the eviction issue.
According to Gov. Beshear, his order would prevent Sheriffs’ offices and other law enforcement agencies from setting renters out of their homes.
But law enforcement doesn’t agree with the legality of his promises.
Carl Yates, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office, said the sheriff will enforce any eviction order it receives from the courts. The office is not able to “pick and choose” which orders to obey, he said. It’s the law.
A handful of Louisville attorneys who specialize in evictions said judges will have the final say on whether Beshear’s executive order is obeyed, as sheriffs’ offices merely enforce the orders the courts give them.