Two Louisville of­fi­cers shot amid protests

Grand jury says po­lice were jus­ti­fied in us­ing force in woman’s shoot­ing death

Santa Fe New Mexican - - FRONT PAGE - By Dy­lan Lovan, Piper Hudspeth Black­burn and John Min­chillo

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, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ci­ated Press jour­nal­ist. 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 mil­i­tary-style ve­hi­cles blocked 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.

Scu±es 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 night­time cur­few as demon­stra­tors marched through other parts of down­town Louisville. Dozens of pa­trol cars blocked the city’s ma­jor thor­ough­fare.

Demon­stra­tors also marched 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 dur­ing a nar­cotics in­ves­ti­ga­tion. State At­tor­ney Gen­eral Daniel Cameron said that while the of­fi­cers had a no-knock war­rant, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed they an­nounced them­selves be­fore en­ter­ing. The war­rant used to search her home was con­nected to a sus­pect who did not live there, and no drugs were found in­side.

Along with the killing of Ge­orge Floyd in Minnesota, Tay­lor’s case be­came a ma­jor touch­stone for na­tion­wide protests that have drawn at­ten­tion to en­trenched racism and de­manded po­lice re­form. Tay­lor’s im­age has been painted on streets, em­bla­zoned on protest signs and silk-screened on T-shirts worn by celebri­ties. Sev­eral prom­i­nent African Amer­i­can celebri­ties joined those urg­ing that the of­fi­cers be charged.

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.

Morgan Ju­lianna Lee, a high school stu­dent in Char­lotte, N.C., watched the an­nounce­ment at home.

“It’s al­most like a slap in the face,” the 15-year-old said by phone. “If I, as a Black woman, ever need jus­tice, I will never get it.”

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.

The case ex­posed the wide gulf be­tween pub­lic opin­ion on jus­tice for those who kill Black Amer­i­cans and the laws un­der which those of­fi­cers are charged, which reg­u­larly fa­vor po­lice and do not of­ten re­sult in steep crim­i­nal ac­cu­sa­tions.

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