Anger, frus­tra­tion turn into vi­o­lence

Protests reignite across US; 2 of­fi­cers shot in Ky.

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Hayes Gard­ner and Bai­ley Loose­more

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Speak­ing be­fore a crowd at the Bre­onna Tay­lor me­mo­rial in Jef­fer­son Square Park, Un­til Free­dom co-founder Tamika Mal­lory stressed non­vi­o­lence.

It was just be­fore 1 p.m. Wed­nes­day, and hun­dreds had gath­ered at the public square – a home base through 119 days of protests down­town – to hear whether crim­i­nal charges would be brought against the Louisville Metro Po­lice Depart­ment of­fi­cers who shot and killed the un­armed Black woman while serv­ing a search war­rant at her home.

“We have to un­der­stand that we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the rest of this na­tion and to gen­er­a­tions to come that we con­duct our­selves, again, not peace­fully but non­vi­o­lently,” Mal­lory said, “so that the story that comes out of here is that we are not the mur­der­ers, we are not the loot­ers, we are not the burn­ers, we are not the ones, they did it to us, and we are only re­spond­ing.”

By Thurs­day morn­ing, the story that reached peo­ple around the coun­try and globe was, in fact, one of vi­o­lence.

Win­dows had been smashed, small fires had been set and two po­lice of­fi­cers were shot dur­ing hours of protest that tra­versed down­town and sev­eral sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods af­ter an an­nounce­ment that no of­fi­cers would be in­dicted for Tay­lor’s death.

In­terim LMPD Chief Robert Schroeder said the shoot­ing took place around 8:30 p.m. down­town. In a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day, he said Maj. Aubrey Gre­gory was hit in the thigh and was re­leased from a hospi­tal, and of­fi­cer Robinson Des­roches was struck in the ab­domen and is re­cov­er­ing from surgery.

Larynzo John­son is ac­cused in the shoot­ing.

“Last night’s sit­u­a­tion could have been so much worse for our of­fi­cers and for the peo­ple who were protest­ing when the gun­fire rang out. ... We are ex­tremely for­tu­nate th­ese two of­fi­cers will re­cover,” Schroeder said.

Ac­tivist Adrian Baker, stu­dent body pres­i­dent of Louisville Pres­by­te­rian The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, said Wed­nes­day’s gun­fire “does dis­tract” from the mes­sage of the pro­test­ers’ move­ment.

“I de­nounce any vi­o­lence. But we have the knowl­edge that this could have been avoided, this type of re­sponse could have been avoided,” he said.

He called the shoot­ing a “re­sponse to in­jus­tice.”

“We are protest­ing the in­jus­tice of a life be­ing lost al­ready,” he said. “And so, just as those po­lice of­fi­cers lives mat­ter that were shot, we are feel­ing as if Bre­onna Tay­lor’s life does not mat­ter be­cause it’s ev­i­dent.”

The de­ci­sion not to in­dict the of­fi­cers for Tay­lor’s death came from a Jef­fer­son County grand jury af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Kentucky At­tor­ney Gen­eral Daniel Cameron.

Though the grand jury charged for­mer De­tec­tive Brett Hanki­son with three counts of first-de­gree wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment for shoot­ing into a neigh­bor­ing apart­ment, it did not charge him or two other of­fi­cers who fired their weapons at Tay­lor’s apart­ment – Sgt. Jonathan Mat­tingly and De­tec­tive Myles Cos­grove – with killing the 26-year-old ER tech­ni­cian. The of­fi­cers re­turned fire af­ter Mat­tingly was shot. Tay­lor’s boyfriend, Ken­neth Walker, said he fired one shot, not re­al­iz­ing they were po­lice.

Tamika Palmer, Tay­lor’s mother, has not spo­ken pub­licly since the grand jury in­dict­ment but shared an il­lus­tra­tion of her daugh­ter Thurs­day af­ter­noon on In­sta­gram with the hash­tag that said, “The sys­tem failed Bre­onna.”

Other mem­bers of Tay­lor’s fam­ily were dis­mayed by the de­ci­sion. Some said they were not sur­prised but “mad as hell.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump spoke briefly about Tay­lor while de­part­ing for Char­lotte, North Carolina: “I think it’s a sad thing, and I give my re­gards to the

“Last night’s sit­u­a­tion could have been so much worse for our of­fi­cers and for the peo­ple who were protest­ing when the gun­fire rang out.” In­terim Po­lice Chief Robert Schroeder

fam­ily. I also think it’s so sad what’s hap­pen­ing with ev­ery­thing about that case, in­clud­ing law en­force­ment. So many peo­ple suf­fer­ing.”

Ten­sions and emo­tions were high af­ter the grand jury an­nounce­ment, and an­gry pro­test­ers marched through neigh­bor­hoods east of down­town and back.

On mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, demon­stra­tors ex­tin­guished fires in trash cans that oth­ers had lit.

Just af­ter 7:30 p.m., some­one set fire to wooden boards af­fixed to the ex­te­rior of the Hall of Jus­tice. Po­lice emerged from the build­ing to put it out as pro­test­ers lobbed wa­ter bot­tles at them.

Po­lice ar­rested 127 peo­ple through the course of the protests, and Schroeder said 16 “in­stances of loot­ing” oc­curred out­side the down­town area.

A9 p.m. cur­few re­mains in ef­fect through Fri­day.

Protest reg­u­lar Aaron Jor­dan said the grand jury’s de­ci­sion and Louisville’s re­sponse has “al­ready changed things,” as peo­ple protest “all over the world.”

“Peo­ple are in­fu­ri­ated. ... It’s big for us be­cause we have our dis­agree­ments and stuff at the square, but peo­ple around the world don’t know about that stuff that we deal with day to day,” he said. “They just see ded­i­cated pro­test­ers, and they want to do their part stand­ing in sol­i­dar­ity.”

AL­TON STRUPP/USA TODAY NET­WORK

Ten­sions es­ca­lated in Louisville, Ky., and po­lice ar­rested at least 127 peo­ple. More protests spread around the globe. “Peo­ple are in­fu­ri­ated,” said one man.

SAM UP­SHAW JR./USA TODAY NET­WORK

Pro­test­ers are con­fined to a side­walk out­side Metro Cor­rec­tions as they wait to be taken into cus­tody by law en­force­ment un­der a cur­few im­posed Wed­nes­day night in down­town Louisville, Ky.

AL­TON STRUPP/USA TODAY NET­WORK

Louisville po­lice of­fi­cers pull a pro­tester out of a crowd re­act­ing to a grand jury an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day.

MACABE BROWN/USA TODAY NET­WORK

Pro­test­ers march in down­town Louisville af­ter a grand jury in­dicted for­mer po­lice De­tec­tive Brett Hanki­son on Wed­nes­day.

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