Protests resumed in Louisville after a grand jury indicted one of the three police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Protesters in Louisville and supporters across the U.S. have called for “justice for Breonna Taylor” for more than six months.
On Wednesday, a Kentucky grand jury indicted one of three police officers involved in the incident on charges of wanton endangerment for shooting a gun into a neighboring apartment. Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison is facing three felony charges. Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, two other officers involved, were not charged.
Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was killed after officers used a search warrant at her apartment shortly before 1 a.m. on March 13, looking for drugs and cash as part of a larger narcotics investigation connected to her former boyfriend. She was shot six times.
Here are the latest updates in the case:
- A group gathered in Jefferson Square Park, the heart of the protests for the past 125 days, before the decision was announced. Protesters have since marched from downtown Louisville. Some have been arrested after police formed a line, stopping protesters, on Bardstown Road in the Highlands neighborhood.
- Attorney General Daniel Cameron said his investigation determined that Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove were justified in their actions and that they did announce themselves as police officers before the shooting.
- Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, is facing three felony counts and bail was set at $15,000. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
- The mayor of Louisville imposed a 72-hour curfew on Wednesday. Police have cut off access to downtown and set up barricades and fences around buildings.
- Six Louisville police officers – including the three who fired their weapons into Breonna Taylor’s apartment – remain under internal investigation into whether officers broke department policies.
- Last week, the city of Louisville announced a $12 million settlement with Breonna Taylor’s family, which included a host of police reforms.
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Some of the most high profile court cases started with a grand jury. Here’s how they work and why some have faced criticism.
Former cop Brett Hankison booked in jail, released half an hour later
Brett Hankison, the sole Louisville police officer facing charges in the case, was booked at the Shelby County Detention Center and released about half an hour later, the jail confirmed.
Hankison was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment and booked at 4:30 p.m., the detention center confirmed. He was released at 5:02 p.m.
The judge had set a $15,000 cash bond for Hankison.
– Emma Austin
Breonna Taylor’s family dismayed by decision: ‘I’m mad as hell’
At the youth homeless shelter in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she works as a residential adviser, Taylor’s cousin Tawanna Gordon watched with tears in her eyes as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that only one of the officers was indicted by a grand jury — but not for killing Taylor.
“I’m not surprised,” Gordon, 45, told The Courier Journal on Wednesday, minutes after Cameron’s press conference ended. “But I’m mad as hell because nothing’s changing.”
Taylor’s cousin said the family will continue to fight for justice while hoping the pending FBI investigation will reach the same conclusion they’ve reached: that Taylor’s civil rights were violated.
“They failed you, they failed me,” Taylor’s sister, Juniyah Palmer, wrote on Twitter after Cameron’s announcement. “Breonna i am so sorry … i don’t know what to do.”
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, left the attorney general’s press conference without talking to media. And her attorneys said she would have no comment Wednesday.
– Tessa Duvall and Jonathan Bullington
Gov. Beshear calls on attorney general to release evidence
Gov. Andy Beshear called on Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday to release evidence from his office’s investigation into the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor online.
“Everyone can and should be informed and those that are currently feeling frustration, feeling hurt, they deserve to know more,” Beshear said at a press conference Wednesday. “I trust Kentuckians. They deserve to see the facts for themselves.”
Beshear also delivered a message to protesters promising to listen as people make their voices heard and be “a partner moving forward.” Still, he urged protesters not to engage in violence noting that militia groups had been spotted walking in downtown Louisville.
“I will never, ever tell someone not to give voice to their truth or to speak out for what they believe in,” he said. “So, be safe and the eyes of the world are on Louisville. People will hear.”
‘We are in shock’: Protesters start marching in Louisville
Almost immediately after hearing the charges, protesters began moving together away from Jefferson Square Park, which has been the heart of the protests, toward Broadway. Several police vehicles trailed closely behind. The National Guard was also present.
Protesters approached police and yelled at them at Fourth and Broadway but continued their march, moving east on Kentucky Street.
Stachelle Bussey, founder of local nonprofit The Hope Buss, said it took her a minute to come out of shock after hearing the charges against Hankison announced.
“I thought more was going to come,” Bussey said. “I was like, ‘OK, they’re going to say some other stuff.’ … They turned the live off, and I realized that was it.”
“He was just charged (with) wanton endangerment — not even for shooting into her apartment, but for shooting into other apartments. We are in shock.”
– Bailey Loosemore and Hayes Gardner
Former cop Brett Hankison indicted, but not for shooting Breonna Taylor
Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, was indicted Wednesday on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
The occupants of those apartments were identified by initials. None of them were BT — Breonna Taylor. That means the grand jury didn’t find that Hankison wantonly fired into her apartment.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday that the grand jury decided homicide charges are not applicable because the investigation showed there was “nothing conclusive to say” that any of Hankison’s bullets hit Taylor.
Two officers were justified in use of force, Kentucky attorney general says
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, two of the three officers who fired their weapons the night Taylor was killed, were justified in their actions, which prevents prosecutors from pursuing criminal charges.
Cameron said his investigation found the officers at Taylor’s apartment knocked and announced that they were police officers before the shooting. That account was corroborated by an independent witness, he said.
“In other words, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant,” Cameron said about the controversial warrant.
Taylor was shot six times, Cameron said, and the FBI ballistics test determined the fatal round was fired by Cosgrove. The Kentucky State Police ballistic test wasn’t able to determine who fired the fatal shot, he added.
Cameron noted that an FBI investigation into potential violations of federal law was continuing.
Cameron said he’d spoken to Taylor’s family and called this an “emotional, gut-wrenching case” and the loss of Taylor’s life is a tragedy.
Protesters vowed Wednesday to continue their fight for racial justice. Around 200 protesters gathered at Jefferson Square Park as the announcement was played on a loudspeaker. As the decision wrapped up, there was first confusion, then anger from those who had gathered.
“They’re still working and still getting paid,” Shemaeka Shaw, a community organizer and affordable housing advocate, recently told The Courier Journal. “… That’s a slap in the face to a mourning mother who still has to walk through the city knowing the men who killed her daughter” remain on LMPD’s payroll.
Protesters have specifically referenced Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison, who fired their weapons at Taylor’s apartment, as well as Detective Joshua Jaynes, who swore out the affidavit to get a search warrant for Taylor’s apartment and four other homes the night she was killed.
– Bailey Loosemore and Hayes Gardner
Activists, politicians and celebrities react to indictment
- The NAACP, the country’s oldest civil rights organization, posted on Instagram that “the injustice we’re witnessing at this moment can be sensed through the nation. It is unacceptable that, once again, culpability has eluded those guilty of state-sanctioned murder.”
- Actress Viola Davis shared the NAACP post and wrote “Bulls— decision. BLACK LIVES MATTER. Cannot be said enough times.”
- Carl Takei, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, called for “real systemic change” and said the decision “is not accountability and not close to justice.”
- Ben Crump, the attorney for Taylor’s family and several other high profile victims of police shootings, called the charges “an insult to Black women as they continued to be disrespected in America.”
Kentucky’s junior Senator Rand Paul said he hopes that people will accept “the rule of law.” When asked if no-knock warrants mattered at all in the case, Paul replied, “Sure it does, they got rid of no-knock warrants because of this case.”
Meanwhile, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams applauded Cameron’s handling of the case, tweeting in part that he believes his fellow Republican “has shown immense courage in taking on the investigation of the killing of Breonna Taylor; great diligence in painstakingly running down every lead; and extraordinary grace under pressure in detailing his findings before the eyes of our country.”
What’s next for Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove?
The announcement Wednesday that two Louisville Metro Police Department officers in the March 13 shooting of Breonna Taylor won’t face criminal charges doesn’t clear them for street duty.
Louisville police officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove still face a Professional Standards Unit investigation to determine if they and four other officers violated police policy or rules for their conduct in the aborted search of Taylor’s home, meaning they are not cleared for street duty.
Additionally, the FBI has been conducting its own investigation of the shooting since May that could result in civil rights violations.
The additional officers include three detectives present at Taylor’s apartment – Tony James, Michael Campbell and Michael Nobles – along with detective Joshua Jaynes, who swore out the affidavit to get the warrant for Taylor’s apartment.
Hankison is not under internal investigation because he lost his job.
More: Former detective Brett Hankison faces 3 charges after Breonna Taylor shooting
– Matt Mencarini and Darcy Costello
Louisville enacts curfew in anticipation of protests
The shooting has spurred more than 125 days of protest in the city and set off a national cry for “justice for Breonna,” with celebrities and politicians from Joe Biden to Beyonce to LeBron James calling for the arrest of the officers who shot her.
In Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. curfew on Wednesday and urged people to protest peacefully.
Fischer and the city’s police department declared state of emergencies on Tuesday to free up resources in anticipation of a decision and potential protests downtown.
The officers at Breonna Taylor’s apartment said they knocked on her door and announced their presence. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, however, says he and Taylor didn’t know who was knocking at the door.
When police broke down the front door of the apartment, Walker fired one shot from his firearm, which police say struck officer Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh, severing his femoral artery.
Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison returned fire, striking Taylor.
She died in her hallway.
Police suspected Taylor was receiving drugs and drug money on her ex-boyfriend’s behalf, but no drugs or cash were found at her apartment, and attorneys for her family have questioned the reliability of the information.
Contributing: Phillip M. Bailey and Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY; Tessa Duvall, Bailey Loosemore, Hayes Gardner, Matt Mencarini, Darcy Costello and Emma Austin, Louisville Courier Journal; Bree Burkitt, The Arizona Republic
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