No charges on police in Breonna Taylor killing; protesters take to streets.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hours after a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for Breonna Taylor’s death and protesters took to the streets, authorities said two officers were shot and wounded Wednesday night during the demonstrations expressing anger over the killings of Black people at the hands of police.
Interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said a suspect was in custody but did not offer details about whether that person was participating in the demonstrations. He says both officers are expected to recover, and one is undergoing surgery.
He says the officers were shot after investigating reports of gunfire at an intersection where there was a large crowd.
Several shots rang out as protesters in downtown Louisville tried to avoid police blockades, moving down an alleyway as officers lobbed pepper balls. People covered their ears, ran away and frantically looked for places to hide. Police with long guns swarmed the area, then officers in riot gear and militarystyle vehicles blocked off roadways.
The violence comes after prosecutors said two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor, a Black woman, were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend. The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s with people inside.
The FBI is still investigating potential violations of federal law in connection with the raid at Taylor’s home on March 13.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for Taylor’s family, denounced the decision as “outrageous and offensive,” and protesters shouting, “No justice, no peace!” immediately marched through the streets.
Scuffles broke out between police and protesters, and some were arrested. Officers fired flash bangs and a few small fires burned in a square that’s been at the center of protests, but it had largely cleared out ahead of a curfew.
Demonstrators also marched in the Bay Area and in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers who entered her home on a noknock warrant during a narcotics investigation. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, however, said the investigation showed the officers announced themselves before entering. The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found.
The announcement drew sadness, frustration and anger that the grand jury did not go further. The wanton endangerment charges each carry a sentence of up to five years.
Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said he authorized a limited deployment of the National Guard. He also urged Cameron, the state attorney general, to post online all the evidence that could be released without affecting the charges filed.
“Those that are currently feeling frustration, feeling hurt, they deserve to know more,” he said.
Cameron, who is the state’s first Black attorney general, said the officers acted in selfdefense after Taylor’s boyfriend fired at them. He added that Hankison and the two other officers who entered Taylor’s apartment announced themselves before entering — and so did not execute the warrant as “no knock,” according to the investigation. The city has since banned such warrants.
Cameron, who is a Republican, is a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and has been tagged by some as his heir apparent. His was also one of 20 names on President Trump’s list to fill a future Supreme Court vacancy.
Demonstrators in Louisville, Ky., embrace each other after hearing the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor investigation.
Harold Hardin joins other protesters rallying for Breonna Taylor at Lake Merritt in Oakland.