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Breonna Taylor: Kentucky grand jury indicts 1 officer
Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison has been indicted on criminal charges after shooting into the apartments next door to Breonna Taylor.
The announcement of a grand jury’s decision to indict one of the three police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor — and that the indictment wasn’t related to her death — sparked another wave of protests for justice and racial equality around the nation.
Reports of protests and marches in Chicago, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Cincinnati, among other places, followed Wednesday’s announcement from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and demonstrators also took to the streets in Taylor’s home city of Louisville.
In Chicago, where the mayor called for a citywide moment of silence, there were at least four protests across the city.
In the South Side Auburn Gresham neighborhood, dozens of people led by anti-violence activist and pastor Michael Pfleger blocked an intersection, chanting “Say her name, Breonna Taylor!”
Dozens more gathered downtown in Millenium Park, outside police headquarters in the South Side Bronzeville neighborhood, and at Palmer Square Park on the North Side.
“This ruling is absolutely heartbreaking, and it leaves more questions than it answers,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, adding, “This is a profoundly disturbing reality.”
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Videos on Twitter showed hundreds gathered at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Protesters there held signs like “She. Was. Sleeping.” before marching and chanting Taylor’s name.
In Ohio, protesters gathered at the Hamilton County Courthouse before marching through the streets. The chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and Taylor’s name while going through downtown. Police presence in the area was minimal, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Police in Asheville, North Carolina, reported that protesters left a casket full of dirt and what they called “cow manure” at the front door of the Asheville Police Department. The department tweeted a photo of the casket, along with other updates regarding protests in the area.
Asheville police tweeted about 150 protesters gathered in downtown Asheville before marching through the city and “blocking traffic.”
Protesters in Louisville were met by police, with some clashes becoming physical ahead of a 9 p.m. curfew announced by Mayor Greg Fischer. Police said they “may dispense chemical agents” and threatened arrests, the Louisville Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported.
At least one Louisville Metro Police officer was shot in downtown Louisville, a department spokesman confirmed to The Courier-Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network. Other details weren’t immediately known.
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The Kentucky National Guard announced Gov. Andy Beshear authorized the deployment of 500 troops to Louisville.
“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 news release. “Our efforts in the city are a tailored response to the ongoing civil disturbance at the direction of the Governor. We’re a part of this community too.”
Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, is facing three felony counts of wanton endangerment for firing into the apartment next door to Taylor’s. Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, two other officers involved in the raid, were not charged.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who represents the Taylor family, called the decision “outrageous and offensive to Breonna Taylor’s memory.” He added the news “falls far short of what constitutes justice.”
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After Cameron’s announcement, Beshear called for non-violent protests. He added he’d already seen “militia groups” walking through Louisville.
“So, be safe and the eyes of the world are on Louisville,” he said. “People will hear. There are more cameras broadcasting to more places, and so I’d be mindful that they’re here so that you’re heard, and let’s try to do this in a way that makes positive change and is not used to prevent change.”
Contributing: Bailey Loosemore and Hayes Gardner, Louisville Courier-Journal; Madeline Mitchell and Cameron Knight, Cincinnati Enquirer; The Asheville Citizen-Times.