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National News

Grand Jury Action for Breonna Taylor Leads to Protests and 2 Officers Shot

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Grand Jury Action for Breonna Taylor Leads to Protests and 2 Officers Shot

2020-09-24 13:36:35

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Breonna Taylor poster (Image source: Public domain)

Black Lives Matter protesters have been crying for justice for Breonna Taylor for several months. On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted one former Louisville, Kentucky, police detective while the other two officers involved received nothing. This led the city of Louisville to see scores of protests and led to two police officers being shot.

On March 13, the three officers appeared on Breonna Taylor's doorstep with what has been described as a "no-knock" warrant. Whether they announced who they were is in dispute. The 26-year-old's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at the officers.

This led Brett Hankison to open fire, shooting 10 times into Taylor and Walker's apartment, killing Taylor. He was fired in June after receiving a termination letter that accused him of "wantonly and blindly" shooting into Taylor and Walker's apartment, as the shots hit a neighboring unit.

A grand jury indicted Hankison on three charges of wanton endangerment in the first degree. The other two officers did not receive charges. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) does not anticipate further charges in the case.

The state of Kentucky's investigation determined Taylor's shooting was "justified" because Walker had shot at the officers first. Walker has sued Louisville police and disputed their version of events.

An attorney for the family, Ben Crump, came out strongly against the grand jury's decisions. "This is outrageous and offensive!" he said.

Cameron said the investigation turned up one witness who heard the detectives identify themselves at the home, but Taylor family attorneys dispute this, and none of the officers were wearing body cameras.

"It's just heartbreaking. It's like killing Breonna all over again," Crump told CNN's Don Lemon after the grand jury action. He said the family was "outraged," referring to the situation as "legalized genocide of people of color, because no matter how much evidence we have, they always find a way to try to legally justify it."

"The D.A. could have indicted a ham sandwich if they wanted to," complained Crump. "We strongly feel they did not want an indictment against these police officers."

He further noted that the "unjustifiable" decision proves there are "two justice systems in America: one for Black America and one for White America."

"We stand here today to say that there is no justification for the murder of Breonna Taylor," he continued. "And we will go to our graves proclaiming that Breonna Taylor did not get justice from the Kentucky attorney general's office."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) chimed in as well. "Breonna Taylor. Breonna Taylor. Breonna Taylor," she proclaimed. "Say her name."

"This is wrong," added Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). "Breonna Taylor's life mattered. She deserves justice. Her family deserves justice. Unjust laws produce unjust outcomes. This must end."

A crowd of protesters gathered at Jefferson Square Park, where demonstrations have taken place for months after Taylor's death.

Around 7:45 p.m., with several small fires burning in trash cans, police declared that the demonstration was an "unlawful assembly" and threatened to use chemical agents to disperse the protesters if they refused to leave.

Several hundred marched south, chanting, "Say her name!" and "Breonna Taylor!" A line of police vehicles blocked an intersection, stopping the marchers and causing them to bunch up. Someone shouted, "Y'all do what you want to do. Y'all are free!"

With a curfew of 9 p.m, police fired at least one pair of flash-bangs into the crowd without warning at 8:29 p.m. Gunfire erupted just after this, with four shots ringing out. Two officers were shot.

Both officers were hospitalized. One is alert, said the interim police chief, Robert Schroeder, and the other was undergoing surgery. Both have non-life-threatening injuries. A suspect is in custody.

"I am very concerned about the safety of our officers," said Schroeder.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) urged the crowd to "go home" after the shooting and said, "There will be many times over the coming days where there will be any opportunity to be heard."

"We know that the answer to violence is never violence," he added.

"Praying for the two police offers that were shot tonight in Louisville, Kentucky," tweeted Trump. "The Federal Government stands behind you and is ready to help. Spoke to @GovAndyBeshear, and we are prepared to work together, immediately upon request!" 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chas Wolf tweeted as well: "Violence against law enforcement is NEVER acceptable in a civil society."

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