A US mayoral candidate who was shot at during a campaign meeting this week has blasted the decision to grant bail to his alleged would-be assassin.
Nobody was injured in Monday’s gun attack on Louisville city hall contender Craig Greenberg.
Quintez Brown, a 21-year-old left-wing activist who has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, was bailed out by a Black Lives Matter fund on Wednesday. Mr Greenberg said it indicates the “justice system is clearly broken”.
Mr Brown, from west Louisville, was reportedly an organiser during Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in the city following the fatal police shooting in March 2020 of a black woman, Breonna Taylor.
He has previously worked in youth violence prevention training and was once invited to meet Barack Obama at the launch of a programme started by the former US president. Mr Brown’s lawyer has said his client suffered a “mental health breakdown” before the shooting, and had not slept for “days or weeks”.
Monday’s gun attack came as Mr Greenberg, a Democrat, was holding a meeting with four staff members. Nobody was injured, though a bullet did graze the candidate’s sweater. Mr Brown was arrested with a pistol and ammunition near the crime scene, said police.
His release after two days has provoked criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. Police have not discussed any motive. “It is nearly impossible to believe that someone can attempt murder on Monday and walk out of jail on Wednesday,” Mr Greenberg said in a statement on Thursday.
“If someone is struggling with a mental illness and is in custody, they should be evaluated and treated in custody,” he said. Mr Greenberg said the release of Mr Brown has left his team and family “traumatised again”.
The mayoral candidate last month released plans for a “community-oriented police force” and more mental health treatment as part of his platform for public safety in Louisville.
In December, Mr Brown announced his campaign for a seat on the Louisville Metro Council.
On Wednesday, Louisville Community Bail, a group associated with Black Lives Matter Louisville, posted Mr Brown’s $100,000 (£74,000) bond.
A spokeswoman for the fund said they were concerned for his safety in jail. “Jail is a final destination for black folks in this state,” Chanelle Helm told the Louisville Courier-journal. Mr Brown is a former columnist for that newspaper.
In Washington DC, Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell also condemned Mr Brown’s release. “Less than 48 hours after this activist tried to literally murder a politician, the radical left bailed their comrade out of jail,” Mr McConnell said.