2 Louisville police officers shot as protesters gather following Breonna Taylor grand jury decision
Protests in Louisville turned violent as police said two officers were shot during demonstrations that erupted Wednesday. This all comes after a Kentucky grand jury 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 couldn’t provide details about the shooting, which took place just before the 9 p.m. curfew went into effect. The police chief said one officer is in stable condition and the other is currently in surgery. A suspect is in custody. The FBI confirmed the officer shooting in a tweet.
The investigation into the shooting was ongoing, according to the LMPD. It is unclear if the shooting was directly related to the protests.
The shooting took place after hours of relatively peaceful protests throughout the city in the afternoon and evening hours following the grand jury decision.
Officer Brett Hankison, who has been fired, was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly endangering Taylor’s neighbors when he fired into the apartment complex.
The neighboring apartment had three people inside, thus the three charges against Hankison, said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The other officers involved in Taylor’s death were not charged.
Taylor family attorney Ben Crump tweeted Wednesday, “NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This is outrageous and offensive!”
“If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!” he wrote.
Taylor’s sister, Ju’Niyah Palmer, posted to Instagram, “Sister I am so sorry.”
In an Instagram story, Palmer said Taylor, who had previously worked as an EMT for the city, was “failed by a system” she “worked hard for.”
On the streets of Louisville, after the sole indictment was announced, some wept, some chanted and some marched.
Maj. Stephen Martin, a spokesman for the Kentucky National Guard, told ABC News that Gov. Andy Beshear authorized the deployment of a portion of the Kentucky National Guard to Louisville.
“We will be engaged in limited and specific missions, protecting critical infrastructure. Our Guard leadership has been directed to retain command and control at all times while working with the Louisville Metro Police Department,” he said in a statement.
The governor later activated 500 guardsmen.
“We’re here to support the city of Louisville and its citizens and provide public safety,” Brig. Gen. Hal Lamberton, Kentucky’s Adjutant General, said in a statement.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 72-hour curfew starting Wednesday night at 9 p.m.
Demonstrators and police in riot gear squared off after some protesters allegedly knocked over patio furniture at a business, according to Louisville ABC affiliate WHAS. Officers allegedly used pepper balls to disperse the crowd and arrested some protesters.
The mayor did not give more details on the number of arrests. Officers used their vehicles to block streets closer to downtown Louisville.
Protesters grew throughout the evening, with most remaining peaceful marching through the streets.
Many chanted Taylor’s name and “Black Lives Matter,” as a line of officers stood shoulder to shoulder blocking them from parts of Louisville.
Protesters gathered across the country Wednesday night, including in New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Minneapolis.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot dead by police while in her Louisville home on March 13. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep when three Louisville Metro Police Department officers, including Hankison, tried to execute a “no-knock” search warrant. The officers were investigating a suspected drug operation linked to Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. No drugs were found in the apartment.
Walker contends he asked the officers to identify themselves as they tried to break open the door, but got no response, which prompted him to open fire with his licensed gun. Mattingly was shot in the leg, according to Cameron.
The attorney general said Hankison fired no shots that struck Taylor. He added Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly were “justified” when they opened fire 22 times during the incident since they were returning fire.
Hankison was fired and the other officers involved were placed on administrative duty.
Taylor’s death sparked months of nationwide protests against police violence and calls for the officers to be charged.
Chanelle Helm, an organizer of Black Lives Matter Louisville, said, “We shouldn’t be too surprised at what’s happening.”
“What is frustrating is that white supremacy, this government and its elected officials continue to deny us healing and any taste of what real justice looks like. Justice in this country is nonexistent,” Helm said in a statement. “This country hasn’t changed. This country hasn’t come to the realization that fascism was its only goal. We move every day for capitalism and not for humanity. Instead of bringing in paths for healing, we keep bringing in more law enforcement, more military and more representations of the systems we desperately need to dismantle.”
The ACLU of Kentucky called this “the latest miscarriage of justice in our nation’s long history of denying that Black lives matter.”
“We join the Taylor family and the community in protesting and mourning the Commonwealth’s choice to deny justice for Breonna,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Breonna Taylor was killed when plainclothes officers used a no-knock warrant to enter her home in the middle of the night. They did not even perform life-saving measures as she took her last breaths after they shot her five times. Throughout this tragic series of events, including today, the police and prosecutors continuously have failed Breonna Taylor, her family, and Black Kentuckians.
“This outcome shows us that true police accountability does not exist in Kentucky,” the ACLU said. “The results of this investigation reflect insufficient standards for police use of force, government-sanctioned violence and terror in communities of color, and a need to completely rebuild our justice system.”
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, tweeted, “Breonna Taylor deserves justice. This was not justice. 1 of the 3 officers was indicted for wanton endangerment. No one was charged for her murder.”
“We must take this anger to the polls, and vote this November like we’ve never voted before,” he said. “Black Lives Matter.”
Cameron said federal prosecutors are looking into potential civil rights charges.