Sister of arrested protester subpoenaed in Lexington KY trial

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Sarah Williams (left) went on trial Monday, July 11, 2022, after she was arrested and charged during racial justice protests in Lexington, Ky. Her twin sister, April Taylor (right), was also charged during the protests and was subpoenaed Monday to testify against her sister.

Sarah Williams (left) went on trial Monday, July 11, 2022, after she was arrested and charged during racial justice protests in Lexington, Ky. Her twin sister, April Taylor (right), was also charged during the protests and was subpoenaed Monday to testify against her sister.

On the first day of Sarah Williams’ trial after she was arrested during racial justice protests in Lexington in 2020, her family received a surprise just moments after the opening statements.

April Taylor, the sister of Williams who was also charged during the protests, was in the gallery when the trial started Monday and was subpoenaed to testify against her sister. Williams faces five misdemeanor charges including inciting a riot, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct, and possession of marijuana.

Taylor quickly left the gallery and criticized County Attorney Larry Roberts for the subpoena.

Roberts began his opening statements and mentioned frequently Taylor, Williams’ identical twin sister.

Taylor was charged in the summer of 2020 with second-degree disorderly conduct, third-degree terroristic threatening, inciting a riot, attempting to incite a riot, resisting arrest, third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and a controlled prescription substance not in the original container.

She pleaded guilty to an amended charge of inciting a riot, as well as attempting to incite a riot as part of a plea agreement. She faced 90 days of jail time, but was sentenced to one year of probation.

Her attorney, William Davis, was also present in the court’s gallery, and called the surprise subpoena was “dirty.” He said because she is on probation, if she did not show to the subpoena of the court, she would automatically have a warrant for her arrest.

“She is on probation and now they have subpoenaed her to go against her sister,” Davis said. “Everything (Roberts) said in his opening statement, he can’t prove. So now he’s called on her to testify. If she doesn’t show, they have a warrant for her arrest. That’s just dirty.”

Roberts referenced Taylor, her social media posts, and actions during his remarks to jurors. Much of the evidence he attempted to present on the first day included items that were tied to Taylor. He also called three witnesses from the Lexington Police Department who either arrested or “assisted in the arrest” of Williams.

Williams’ defense team, led by attorney Daniel Whitley, frequently objected to Roberts’ remarks.

At the conclusion of the first day’s proceedings, Davis made an oral motion to squash the subpoena. He and Whitley both argued that Taylor had verbally invoked her Fifth Amendment right on the record.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning for further consideration on Davis’ request.

Prosecution, defense spar over ‘escalation’ vs. ‘oppression’

Roberts said in court Monday he would take the jury on a “road trip of 10 days” to describe and ultimately prove how Williams “violated the laws she is charged with.” Roberts said there are 400 body cameras with footage that his office has narrowed down to “four or five days” of footage to be shown to the jury. He continued statements describing the days from May 31 to June 13 using words such as “skirmishes” and “melee.”

He stated he has videos that will be show to the eight-person jury to prove that Williams organized “escalations” during the protests and caused a riot. Inciting a riot is one of five charges she is facing. He also plans to show text messages, social media posts, and other video content.

Whitley began his statements and said the case was about oppression.

“She made a decision to use her voice to fight for what she believes in. … People just don’t believe in her tactics,” Whitley said.

He mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, referencing their justice protest arrests and how they are remembered as heroic for bringing about change.

“These same issues hit your small horse town and it became criminal,” he said.

Williams’ trial is set to continue Tuesday.

Taylor Six is the criminal justice reporter at the Herald-Leader. She was born and raised in Lexington attending Lafayette High School. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018 with a degree in journalism. She previously worked as the government reporter for the Richmond Register.





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