Of­fi­cials plead for calm amid anger over de­ci­sion

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - NEWS - By Dy­lan Lovan, Rebecca Reynolds Yonker and Piper Hudspeth Black­burn

Au­thor­i­ties pleaded for calm while ac­tivists vowed to fight on Thurs­day in Ken­tucky’s largest city, where a gun­man wounded two po­lice of­fi­cers dur­ing an­guished protests fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion not to charge of­fi­cers for killing Bre­onna Tay­lor.

Out­rage over a grand jury’s fail­ure to bring homi­cide charges against the of­fi­cers who burst into the Black woman’s apart­ment six­months ago set off a new round of demon­stra­tions Wed­nes­day in sev­er­alAmer­i­can cities. The state at­tor­ney gen­eral said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed of­fi­cers were act­ing in self-de­fense when they re­sponded to gun­fire from Tay­lor’s boyfriend.

Reginique Jones re­turned Thurs­day morn­ing to the park in down­town Louisville that has been the hub for protests, say­ing she was dis­traught over the grand jury’s de­ci­sion to only charge one of­fi­cer for fir­ing into apart­ments neigh­bor­ing Tay­lor’s. Still, Jones vowed to con­tinue press­ing for in­creased po­lice ac­count­abil­ity and for a statewide ban on “no-knock” war­rants, the kind is­sued in the Tay­lor

case, though state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Daniel Cameron said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed po­lice an­nounced them­selves be­fore en­ter­ing.

“I be­lieve that we are go­ing to get past this,” Jones said as demon­stra­tors be­gan to ar­rive at the park dubbed In­jus­tice Square. “As long as we con­tinue to re­main strong, and stay on the same page, we can still get some jus­tice.”

Though protests in Louisville be­gan peace­fully the day be­fore, of­fi­cers de­clared an un­law­ful assem­bly af­ter they said fires were set in garbage cans, sev­eral ve­hi­cles were dam­aged and stores were bro­ken into. A 26-year-old man was ar­rested and charged with fir­ing at po­lice and­wound­ing two of­fi­cers.

“Vi­o­lence will only be a source of pain, not a cure for pain,” said Mayor Greg Fis­cher. “Many see Bre­onna Tay­lor’s case as both the tragic death of a young woman and the con­tin­u­a­tion of a long pat­tern of de­val­u­a­tion and vi­o­lence that Black women and men face in our coun­try, as they have his­tor­i­cally.”

“The ques­tion ob­vi­ously is: What do we do with this pain?” the mayor asked. “There is no one an­swer, no easy an­swer to that ques­tion.”

Ac­tivists, celebri­ties and ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans have called for charges against po­lice since Tay­lor, an emer­gen­cymed­i­cal worker, was shot mul­ti­ple times by white of­fi­cers af­ter one of them was fired upon and

wounded while con­duct­ing a raid in a nar­cotics in­ves­ti­ga­tion in March. Po­lice en­tered on a war­rant con­nected to a sus­pect who did not live there, and no drugs were found in­side.

Along­with­Ge­orge Floyd, the Black­man killed by po­lice in Min­neapo­lis, Tay­lor’s name be­came a ral­ly­ing cry dur­ing na­tion­wide protests this sum­mer that drew at­ten­tion to en­trenched racism and de­manded po­lice re­form.

Since Tay­lor’s killing, Louisville has taken some steps to ad­dress pro­test­ers’ con­cerns. The of­fi­cer who was even­tu­ally charged has been fired, and three oth­ers were put on desk duty. Louisville of­fi­cials have banned no-knock war­rants and hired a Black woman as the

city’s new per­ma­nent po­lice chief, a first for the city.

Last week, the city agreed to more po­lice re­forms as part of a set­tle­ment that in­cluded a $12 mil­lion pay­ment to Tay­lor’s fam­ily.

The FBI is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Tay­lor’s civil rights were vi­o­lated. The bur­den of proof for such cases is high, with pros­e­cu­tors hav­ing to prove of­fi­cers knew they were act­ing il­le­gally and made a will­ful de­ci­sion to cause some­one’s death.

But­many have ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that more has not been done. Hun­dreds chanted Tay­lor’s name and marched in cities af­ter the grand jury de­ci­sion, in­clud­ing Philadel­phia, New York, Chicago, Wash­ing­ton and At­lanta.

“In our dis­tress, we reaf­firm our ded­i­ca­tion to the erad­i­ca­tion of sys­temic racism in our city,” the group Louisville Show­ing Up for Racial Jus­tice said in a state­ment Thurs­day. “We will keep show­ing up, speak­ing up, and join­ing the move­ment for sys­temic change led by Black peo­ple.”

Two re­porters for the on­line news site The Daily Caller­were ar­rest­edWed­nes­day night dur­ing the Louisville protests. Pub­lisher Neil Pa­tel said in a state­ment the re­porters “were peace­fully do­ing their jobs.”

The two Louisville of­fi­cers shot dur­ing protests were “do­ing well and will sur­vive their in­juries,” said in­ter­imPo­lice Chief Robert Schroeder.

Maj. Aubrey Gre­gory, a Louisville of­fi­cer for more than 20 years, was shot in the hip and was treated at a hos­pi­tal. Of­fi­cer Robin­son Des­roches, who joined the force 18 months ago, was shot in the ab­domen and un­der­went surgery.

Larynzo D. John­son, 26, was charged in the shoot­ings with as­sault­ing po­lice of­fi­cers and wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment of po­lice of­fi­cers. An ar­rest ci­ta­tion said po­lice had video of John­son shoot­ing at of­fi­cers. Court records did not list a lawyer for John­son, who was sched­uled Thurs­day for ar­raign­ment the next day.

In Wash­ing­ton, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell called the of­fi­cers’ shoot­ings in his home state acts of “de­spi­ca­ble cow­ardice that must be met with the full force of the law.”

Tay­lor’s case has 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.

DAR­RON CUMMINGS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A makeshift­memo­rial in honor of Bre­onna Tay­lor on Thurs­day in Louisville, Ky. A grand jury on­Wednes­day de­clined to charge po­lice of­fi­cers for the fa­tal shoot­ing of Tay­lor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.