A grand jury has indicted just one of the three officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. But the decision, announced Wednesday, was called “unsettling” by Black Lives Matter Louisville.
The three-count indictment was handed down to former officer Brett Hankison, who has been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment for firing into several apartments, but not for shooting at or killing Taylor. The other two officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, both of whom are still employed with the Louisville Police Department, have not been charged at this time.
According to police reports, Hankison fired at a sliding glass door and window in Taylor’s apartment, both of which were covered by blinds, violating a department policy requiring an officer have a clear line of sight before discharging their weapon. The jury determined that the other two officers fired back in response to the shot from inside the apartment, which came from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
The Louisville community has already expressed anger and disappointment at the decision, with many people attending the press conference where the charges were announced crying. “This is outrageous and offensive!” Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Taylor’s family, said on Twitter.
“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!” After the press conference, crowds in Louisville immediately began marching in protest of the decision.
Before the decision, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency in the city in anticipation of protests breaking out. “Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement,” Fischer said in a statement. “At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.” The National Guard has been deployed to Louisville and residents are under a 9 p.m. curfew.
“Breonna Taylor and her family deserve more than the state could ever give them,” Black Lives Matter Louisville said in a statement. “They are not capable of true accountability, but remember, we decide what’s possible. Not them.”
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