Breonna Taylor updates: Mom’s lawyer says AG needs to ‘learn the law of self-defense,’ 2 reporters among more than 100 arrests in Louisville

Matt Mencarini

N’dea Yancey-Bragg
| Louisville Courier Journal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the wake of a grand jury decision Wednesday to charge only one officer for shooting into neighboring apartments in the case of Breonna Taylor, protests in Louisville led to more than 100 arrests overnight, including two reporters. Two police officers who were shot are expected to recover; one suspect was in custody. 

Protesters also took to the streets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., to express shock and frustration over the lack of homicide charges for the officers.

A Kentucky grand jury indicted former detective Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, on three felony charges of wanton endangerment. 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’s what you need to know to start your Thursday:

Lonita Baker, the lawyer for Breonna Taylor’s mother, said on CNN Thursday that the two officers who shot Taylor are not entitled to the self-defense justification because the 26-year-old was unarmed and did not pose a threat.

“(Kentucky Attorney General) Daniel Cameron failed,” Baker said. “He needs to learn the law of self-defense in Kentucky because as he stated yesterday he was off base.”

Geoffrey Ingersoll, the editor-in-chief of a conservative news website, tweeted that Daily Caller reporters Shelby Talcott and Jorge Ventura were detained by Louisville Metro Police and “will be charged with two misdemeanors related to breaking curfew & unlawful assembly for their alleged failure to comply with police orders to disperse and for press to relegate themselves to an ‘observation area.'”

Louisville police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay confirmed to The Courier Journal that Talcott and Ventura were arrested.

Ben Crump, one of the attorney’s representing Breonna Taylor’s family, said on CNN Thursday morning that his clients are devastated, outraged and heartbroken. He said the family is demanding that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron release the transcript of the grand jury proceedings.

“What did they present to that grand jury? That is the question everyone is asking,” Crump said.

Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, but the charges relate to firing his weapon into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors, not for shooting the 26-year-old. 

Hankison was arrested and booked at the Shelby County Detention Center at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. His bond was set at $15,000 cash, and he was released at 5:02 p.m. 

Protests started within minutes of the grand jury indictment and continued throughout the night Wednesday. Anger was palpable as the protesters walked through the streets. 

Police department spokesman Lamont Washington said several fires were set downtown and “several locations” were looted in the early morning hours. Fellow spokesman Dwight Mitchell told media members just before 8:30 a.m. that a total of 127 people had been arrested.

Two Louisville police officers were shot during downtown protests about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the department. They were both in stable condition Wednesday night and police arrested one suspect in connection with the shooting.

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden urged protesters to be peaceful and patient as they await the results of an ongoing federal investigation into the Taylor case, while President Donald Trump also tweeted that he was praying for the officers shot Wednesday. 

Some say that they’re not surprised and they are “mad as hell.” 

Taylor family attorneys Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker issued a statement calling Wednesday’s grand jury decision “outrageous and offensive to Breonna Taylor’s memory.”

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From LeBron James and John Legend to Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi, several celebrities and other public figures spoke out about the decision. 

Protesters took to the streets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., among other places, following Wednesday’s announcement.

Six Louisville police officers still are under internal investigations for their roles in the shooting.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday the FBI is looking at the way LMPD obtained the warrant for Taylor’s apartment.

Hours after the grand jury decision, Gov. Andy Beshear called on Cameron to publicly release evidence from his office’s investigation.

“He talked about information, facts, evidence that neither I nor the general public have seen. I believe that the public deserves this information,” Beshear said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer put in place a countywide curfew, which continues Thursday and Friday from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. 

Contributing: Morgan Watkins, Darcy Costello, Tessa Duvall, Emma Austin and Hayes Gardner, Louisville Courier-Journal; Ledyard King and Michael Collins, USA TODAY

Follow reporter Matt Mencarini on Twitter: @MattMencarini


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