Two officers have been shot as thousands are on roads in Louisville after a grand jury ruled no-one would be convicted for the killing of Breonna Taylor, an African American who was shot multiple times in a police raid at her home on March 13, 2020. Brett Hankison has been charged not with the homicide of Taylor but with “wanton endangerment” for firing into a neighbor’s apartment in Louisville.
Two other officers are acquitted of all the charges. Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder announced the condition of the personnel is not life-threatening. He confirmed that a suspect in the custody of the law enforcement. A state of emergency has been imposed in Louisville with National Guard called up to take control of the situation after the controversial ruling.
Mayor Greg has declared a 1:00-10:30 GMT curfew in the city for 3 days. Fischer earlier announced the state of emergency “due to the potential for civil unrest”. Despite the curfew coming into effect, people still gathered after 21:00. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called on the protesters to go home.
“We know that the answer to violence is never violence and we are thinking about those two officers and their families tonight. So, I’m asking everybody: please, go home. Go home tonight,” he requested.
Under Kentucky law, someone will commit Wanton endangerment if they are found guilty of an act that depicts “an extreme indifference to the value of human life”. The lowest-level felony offender could receive a 5-year-sentence for each count. Brett Hankinson was convicted on three counts.
Ms. Taylor – a fresh victim of police brutality in US- was an emergency medical technician when she died at age 26. Her relative and BLM activists had been demanding the conviction of all three officers involved in the reckless shooting. The civil rights activities wanted each of the three white men to be charged for committing murder or manslaughter. However, the call was rejected by grand jury after examining the evidence. Judge Annie O’Connell announced the charges levelled against Hankinson on Wednesday. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron then held a news conference to shed light on the verdict. “This is gut-wrenching emotional case,” he said.
“There is nothing I can offer them today to take away the grief and heartache as a result of losing a child, a niece, a sister and a friend,” he added in a message to Ms. Taylor’s family.
The attorney said a ballistics report had found six bullets struck the victim but only one proved fatal. The investigation found that Detective Myles Cosgrove had fired the shot that killed the black woman. Cameron said it was unconcluded if Hankinson’s shots had hit Taylor but they had penetrated through the neighbor’s apartment. The prosecution observed that the two fellow officers – Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly – had been “justified to protect themselves and the justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges”.
Cameroon who happens to be the Louisville’s first black attorney general, added: “If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.” He tried to calm down the situation by adding that FBI was still looking into the potential violations of federal law in the Breonna Taylor’s case.
Ben Crump, a high-profile lawyer assisting the Taylor family commented on the decision as “outrageous and offensive”. Officials this month agreed to pay her family USD 12mn in a settlement bid.
Trump in White House news conference praised the ruling “really brilliant”. He praised Kentucky’s attorney who addressed the Republican party convention last month, for “doing a fantastic job”.
“I think he is a star,” he said, adding that he gave a green signal for the deployment of National Guard to Kentucky upon the request of its governor. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat pressed the prosecution to made the evidence given to jury public.
“I think having more of the facts out there so people can see, people can truly process it, is where we need to be,” Mr. Beshear commented.