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Breonna Taylor: anger after grand jury refuses to charge officers in killing -

Breonna Taylor: anger after grand jury refuses to charge officers in killing* Brett Hankison indicted on charges of wanton endangerment * No officers directly charged in Taylor’s death * Breonna Taylor decision – live updatesAnger erupted on Wednesday when a grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the killing of Breonna Taylor during a drug raid gone wrong.Prosecutors in Kentucky said the officers who fired their weapons at Taylor were justified in using force to protect themselves.The only charges brought by the grand jury against the three officers involved were three counts of wanton endangerment against the fired officer Brett Hankison for shooting into the homes of Taylor’s neighbors during the raid on the night of 13 March.Hankison was not charged for shooting Taylor.The lawyer Ben Crump said on behalf of Taylor’s family that the grand jury’s decision was “outrageous and offensive”.Taylor, 26, who was Black and worked as an emergency medical technician, was shot at home in March and protests for justice over her death, and against police brutality, have spread around the US and beyond.Crowds in Louisville reacted with dismay to the announcements by the Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, on Wednesday afternoon and marched downtown where protests were ongoing, amid a high police presence. Tensions escalated throughout the night, with two officers shot and sustaining non-life-threatening injuries amid the demonstrationsPolice were seen arresting a few protesters. John Eligon of the New York Times said on Twitter that after a “loud but peaceful march … police in riot gear confronted protesters and then began pushing them. A chemical agent was used and the officers began arresting protesters, dragging some to the ground.”Footage on social media showed several white men also in the downtown area with guns and wearing body armor, identifying them as some sort of militia.The mayor has ordered a curfew in the Kentucky city for 9 pm.Crowds first gathered in a park in downtown Louisville, where there have been protests every day for months. Someone screamed out in anguish at hearing the news of the charges and people wept, before they began to march. “I’m more saddened than angry,” Monique Lathon, 33, who was there with her young daughter, told the Guardian.David Mour, 59, a lawyer who represents many activists, stood solemnly as the crowd took in the news. “I have had clients indicted for way less,” he said. The civil rights leader Al Sharpton said the charges were “grossly insufficient”, in an interview on MSNBC.Taylor was killed on 13 March by white police officers in Louisville serving a so-called “no-knock warrant” that allowed them to charge into her apartment without warning as part of an investigation into an ex-boyfriend, who was not present.The other two officers with Hankison on the night, Jonathan Mattingly and Miles Cosgrove, fired their weapons inside the apartment after her boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired one shot as they entered. They did not announce themselves as police and he said he believed they were intruders.One officer was shot in the leg and police fired in return.Criminal justice experts had said ahead of the grand jury announcement that a tangled legal doctrine in Kentucky meant a form of self-defense stalemate left questions over what charges a prosecutor could bring against the officers.Cameron, the attorney general, said in a press conference in the state capital, Frankfort, “there is no doubt this is a gut-wrenching” outcome of the case for many.Downtown streets in Louisville, about 50 miles from Frankfort, have been closed off all week as the city awaited the announcement. The Louisville mayor, Greg Fischer, said before the press conference that the city will observe a curfew for at least the next three nights, from 9pm to 6.30am, starting on Wednesday.Protesters had begun marching and chanting as Cameron was still talking, explaining how six police bullets struck Taylor after Mattingly fired six shots, Cosgrove fired 16 shots and Hankison fired 10 shots after entering Taylor’s apartment. Cosgrove is believed to have fired the fatal shot, Cameron said.The officers opened fire after, Mattingly told investigators, they burst into the apartment and saw a man and a woman at the end of the hallway, following which Walker fired one shot that hit Mattingly in the thigh. The police officers then opened fire. Hankison fired from outside the bedroom where Taylor died.Cameron said the loss of Taylor’s life was a tragedy. “I know that not everyone will be satisfied by the charges today,” he said.He added: “I understand as a Black man how painful this is … my heart breaks for the loss of Miss Taylor.”Later, at a press conference at the White House, Donald Trump praised Cameron’s handling of the case, saying he was doing a “fantastic job”, adding: “Justice is … not easy”.He repeated some of Cameron’s remarks earlier in the day, in which he said “justice relies on the facts and the law”. Trump added: “I will be speaking to the governor ... I understand he’s called up the national guard, which I think is a good thing, a positive thing.”Louisville was placed under a state of emergency Tuesday as city officials closed down a more than 25-block perimeter to traffic. Most city administrative buildings and other businesses were boarded up in anticipation of the decision.Protests in Louisville related to Taylor’s death in March have been taking place for more than 100 consecutive days and have been overwhelmingly peaceful.Last week the city of Louisville reached a $12m settlement with Taylor’s family in a civil suit stemming from the shooting. The city has also agreed to policing reforms including a requirement that commanders approve all search warrants before they go to a judge.The California senator and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris has called for the Department of Justice to investigate Taylor’s killing.The progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the latest news in the case was “weighing really heavy on my heart”.Ocasio-Cortez told a Capitol Hill reporter, “We know that her death is not just the result of one person but the system, structure and department that failed their entire community.”

Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:58:10 -0400

2 Louisville police officers shot as protesters gather following Breonna Taylor grand jury decision -

2 Louisville police officers shot as protesters gather following Breonna Taylor grand jury decisionProtests in Louisville turned violent as police said two officers were shot during demonstrations that erupted after a Kentucky grand jury on Wednesday indicted one officer for allegedly endangering the neighbors of Breonna Taylor during the police shooting that resulted in her death. The Louisville Metro Police Department provided limited details about the shooting, which took place just before the 9 p.m. curfew went into effect. Both officers are stable and have non-life-threatening injuries.

Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:56:44 -0400

2 officers shot during Louisville protests over Breonna Taylor grand jury decision -

2 officers shot during Louisville protests over Breonna Taylor grand jury decisionOne suspect was in custody, and police said the officers' injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:37:39 -0400

‘This city is hostile’: protesters despair for justice in Breonna Taylor killing -

‘This city is hostile’: protesters despair for justice in Breonna Taylor killingTo many in Louisville, the grand jury decision felt like a step backward from the recent victories in this segregated city For nearly 120 days, protesters in Louisville, Kentucky, have shouted “no justice, no peace!” as they called for charges against three police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot in her apartment in March as police executed a search warrant.In the minutes following the announcement that only one officer would be indicted – for wanton endangerment for firing into an apartment next door to Taylor’s – a quiet, stunned sadness and simmering anger overtook Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park, the epicenter of protests which has been dubbed Injustice Square Park. Monique Lathon, a 33-year-old Black woman, said she was feeling “mostly sadness more than anger” as tears streamed down her face after the announcement. “Just sorry to Bre that we weren’t able to get her justice.”On the edge of the square, David Mour, a 59-year-old attorney who is a fixture at demonstrations and represents many protesters, was wearing body armor.“People say they fear for our city. I don’t fear for our city. I fear for our people,” he said. “We can rebuild buildings, we can fix broken windows, we can wash off graffiti, but we can’t heal broken hearts. We can’t heal broken spirits – and that’s what we’ve got.”Mour said he’d “had clients indicted for way less evidence than they had to indict these guys”.Taylor was killed when officers executing a so-called “no-knock warrant” burst down her apartment door as part of a narcotics investigation targeting her ex-boyfriend, who was arrested 10 miles across the city in a raid carried out at about the same time. As police breached Taylor’s door her boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired off a shot from his handgun, thinking he was witnessing a home invasion. Taylor, who was unarmed, was killed as police responded with gunfire, some of which poured in from a window around the corner from where officers had tried to enter the apartment. No drugs or drug money were found in the residence.The officer who was charged on Wednesday, Brett Hankison, had been fired from the police force in June for his actions the night Taylor was killed. The acting chief of police wrote that Hankison displayed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly” fired 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment on 13 March. He was booked in jail on Wednesday but released on bail about half an hour later.Last week, the city of Louisville paid $12m to Taylor’s estate to settle a lawsuit and announced a number of additional reforms that would come to the police department. Hankison’s firing, the settlement and the promised reforms were all heralded as victories and promising signs by protesters in this segregated city. But what happened on Wednesday felt like a step back to many, as though change wasn’t possible.“I don’t think I’ll live to see it. I have grandchildren and I’m skeptical to say they will witness it,” said Solderick Ware, a 46-year-old Black steel worker, when asked whether he thought Black residents of Louisville and the United States could have more equality and equity.Ware was sitting outside at a taco restaurant with some friends in the Highlands, an affluent neighborhood where protesters had marched following the announcement, leaving the barricaded streets and boarded-up windows of the city center behind.In the Highlands, protesters yelled, “How do you spell racist? L-M-P-D,” – a reference to the Louisville Metro Police Department. One woman shouted, “Are you a parent?” at police vehicles that drove by.Police in riot gear confronted protesters at one intersection, standing in phalanx with batons beneath a bucolic mural of a local park. Clashing with protesters at one point, officers could be observed firing pepper balls, which dispense a chemical irritant. A number of protesters were taken into police custody.After the situation in the Highlands calmed, Shawn Anderson, 45, was sitting with Ware and wearing a shirt that showed Taylor alongside George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery – a trio of Black Americans whose deaths have driven racial justice protests across the nation. Anderson’s mask was covered in photos of Taylor, including one of her in an EMT uniform.That Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron, a Black man, could not file more charges in the death of a Black woman killed by police was “sickening”, he said. “It makes no sense.”“One day he’s going to have to answer for all the blood on his hands because he knows in his heart that it’s unjust and it’s wrong,” he said. “God has the last say. So we can protest. We mad. We upset. But his day is gonna come, just like all of us, our day is gonna come. And that’s when he gonna meet his justice.”Deziree Edwards, 21, was driving on the highway towards the protest square on Wednesday afternoon when she learned of the decision while watching a livestream.She said it was disappointing, but somewhat expected.“I definitely believe that change is due because this is not the system that I deserve to live in,” she said. “This is not the system that we deserve to live in. This city is hostile.”

Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:36:22 -0400

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests -

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protestsIt's unclear if the shooting was linked to the protests.

Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:33:00 -0400