LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Quintez Brown, the Louisville activist accused of trying to murder mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg, has been released on bail from the county jail.
Brown was freed around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday after the money was put forward by the Louisville Community Bail Fund, a local group that raises money to free defendants in criminal cases and connect them with pretrial support resources.
His bond had been set at $100,000 Tuesday morning by Judge Annette Karem, which was raised at the request of the Jefferson County Attorney's Office after that figure was initially recommended $75,000. Brown will be subject to home incarceration.
Brown, who is also an independent Metro Council candidate and former Courier Journal intern and opinion writer, has been charged with attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment after police say he fired a Glock handgun at Greenberg, with one of the bullets coming close enough to graze Greenberg's sweater.
Craig Greenberg shooting: Mayor hopeful Greenberg doesn't want his shooting to divide Louisville. It's already begun
Brown also faces four counts of wanton endangerment in connection with the four Greenberg staffers who were in the room at the time of the shooting. He has pleaded not guilty.
No one was injured, despite the bullets being fired at close range.
According to an arrest citation, Brown was arrested 10 minutes later about a half-mile from Butchertown Market, the popular shopping center and business hub where Greenberg’s election headquarters is located.
Brown was in possession of a loaded 9mm magazine along with a handgun, a handgun case and additional magazines, the citation said.
His attorney, Rob Eggert, told The Courier Journal earlier Tuesday his client is "severely mentally ill and needs treatment, not prison."
Brown appeared to have had "a mental health breakdown and hasn't slept for days or weeks," Eggert said.
Chanelle Helm, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Louisville, confirmed to The Courier Journal on Wednesday afternoon the Louisville Community Bail Fund posted Brown's bail and said the group used money that had already been raised.
Louisville bail funds: Meet the groups bailing Louisville protesters and others from jail
Those behind the fund have previously worked to bail out others charged with crime who can't make bail, including protesters arrested during the racial justice marches in the wake of Breonna Taylor's death.
"We have enough in to take care of him" and connect him with mental health care, Helm said. "We got a lot of money in 2020. We're doing exactly what we would do for anyone else in this situation."
Helm said the bail fund often helps people find mental health counseling while they await trial.
"They're not done with the case just because they make bail," she said. "In the meantime, jails and prisons do not rehabilitate people. The community's been doing that."
Brown, 21, is a part of the Black Lives Matter Louisville community, Helm said. Those involved with the group were "shaken up" by the accusations against Brown.
A Friday statement cosigned by eight activist and advocacy organizations, including Black Lives Matter Louisville and the Louisville Community Bail Fund, condemned the shooting and reiterated the belief 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 reads, in part.
Speaking Tuesday afternoon with host Terry Meiners on 840-WHAS, Greenberg generally declined to comment on whether he thought a $100,000 bond was an appropriate figure for someone accused of attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment, saying he "hadn't had time to react to that specific number."
Greenberg said he'd never met Brown. And he said while he wasn't sure of the motive and was "empathetic with whatever led (the suspect) to that point," violent criminal actions should have consequences.
He said his family and campaign team would make sure safety is a top priority moving forward.
"I believe that if he's released on bail, he will be subjected to the home incarceration program, is my understanding is what would happen," Greenberg told Meiners. "But I am concerned about my team and my family's safety, and my safety, and we'll be taking precautions for the duration of this campaign to ensure that everyone associated with us is safe."
Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini, a Republican, criticized Brown's release, saying officials should have set Brown's bail higher than $100,000.
"Attempted murder on Monday, go home on Wednesday," Piagentini, who'd been critical of the bail figure earlier in the week, wrote on Twitter. "This case is highlighting everything wrong with our criminal justice system in Louisville."
Attempted murder on Monday, go home on Wednesday. This case is highlighting everything wrong with our criminal Justice system in Louisville. https://t.co/4Eqjdj6dpH
— Councilman Anthony Piagentini (@CMPiagentini) February 16, 2022
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell was critical as well. Speaking Thursday morning on the Senate floor, the Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky noted Brown's mental state was "still under investigation," like other aspects of the case. But he ripped the decision by a "left-wing bail fund partnered with BLM" to post his bond.
“Less than 48 hours after this activist tried to literally murder a politician, the radical left bailed their comrade out of jail," McConnell said. “It is just jaw-dropping. The innocent people of Louisville deserve better."
Still, in a statement, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell noted bond must be set under Kentucky law, unlike the federal system. His office recommended raising the bail number from $75,000 due to the severity of the charges and had recommended Brown be placed on home incarceration if he made bail, he added.
“It is frustrating that my office has such little control in these situations," O'Connell said in a release. "... However, the criteria of release should not be the ability to access a certain amount of money. It should be the threat to the community and whether there is a history of non appearance in court.
"I’ve said previously that people should not be in jail just because they can’t afford bond or be released just because they can. We should have a system like the federal government where my office can provide evidence and a judge can decide. Kentucky current system does not allow that. Our office has kept the victim involved throughout this process.”
Mayor Greg Fischer, in a statement of his own, said Brown's bond and release were "decided independently by a judge," noting home incarceration personnel will perform regular home checks of the suspect and will be alerted if his GPS monitoring device is tampered with.
Brown had previously been reported missing in June 2021 but was found 12 days later in New York City. After he was found his family asked for privacy while his "physical, mental and spiritual needs" were addressed.
Brown's release from jail comes as the Kentucky General Assembly considers House Bill 313, which would outlaw “charitable bail organizations” from operating in the state.
Such organizations pull donations from the public and use the money to pay bail for defendants in criminal cases. The bill is sponsored by Republican state representatives John Blanton, of Salyersville, and Jason Nemes, of Louisville.
Helm told The Courier Journal that the bill would not apply to the Louisville Community Bail Fund, though, as she contended it isn't a charitable bail organization.
Louisville Metro Corrections, meanwhile, has been in the spotlight recently after six deaths were reported at the downtown facility since November 2021, including five that occurred in a six-week span.
Two new assistant chiefs have been hired in February, and the city has ordered an outside review of the deaths and conditions inside the jail.
Helm said current conditions inside Metro Corrections were a concern to those in the activist community who know Brown, saying jail is "a final destination for Black folks in this state."
"Everything we do is preventative. Nothing we do is increasing violence in this city," Helm added. "We've opened a clinic, we're making sure people get food and housing, what people are in dire need of regardless of their criminal background."
What is the Louisville Community Bail Fund?
The Louisville Community Bail Fund, which posted Brown's bond Wednesday, aims to pay bail bonds for defendants who may not be able to afford the fee, as well as provide post-release resources for defendants as they await trial.
The group was in the spotlight during the 2020 protests over the police killing of Breonna Taylor. The Louisville Community Bail Fund and the local Bail Project, a similar group, posted bonds that year for at least 483 defendants as of September. Chanelle Helm, a Black Lives Matter Louisville leader who co-founded the Louisville Community Bail Fund, said the group used funds raised in 2020 to get Brown out of Metro Corrections.
The Bail Project is led by Shameka Parrish-Wright, who, like Greenberg, is also a candidate for Louisville mayor. That group was not involved in Brown's release.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect Brown's initial $75,000 bond was raised to $100,000 at the request of the Jefferson County Attorney's Office.
Reporter Bailey Loosemore contributed. Lucas Aulbach can be reached at email@example.com, 502-582-4649 or on Twitter @LucasAulbach.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville Community Bail Fund posts bond for Quintez Brown