- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Protests erupted Wednesday in Louisville, Kentucky, after the state attorney general announced criminal charges against only one of three police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Black woman in her home in March. No charges were brought for her killing.

A swarm of protesters chanted “No justice, no peace!” and “Burn it down!” in downtown Louisville after the indictment in the Breonna Taylor case was announced over a loudspeaker.

In anticipation of civil unrest, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder imposed a 72-hour curfew, starting at 9 p.m. Chief Schroeder also said the Kentucky National Guard had been activated.

“I urge everyone to commit once again to a peaceful, lawful response, like we’ve seen here for the majority of the past several months,” Mr. Fisher said.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office announced that a grand jury had indicted for police detective Brett Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment in shooting into Taylor’s apartment on the night of March 13.



Mr. Hankison was not charged directly for her death. Two other officers involved in the shooting, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted.

Wanton endangerment is a class D felony and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Bond for Mr. Hankison, who was fired in June, was set at $15,000, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell read the grand jury indictment in court Wednesday, saying Mr. Hankison “wantonly shot a gun” into adjoining Apartment 3. The indictment listed the occupants of the apartment by their initials, but none was BT, for Breonna Taylor.

That means the grand jury did not conclude that Mr. Hankison had fired wantonly into Taylor’s apartment or that any of the officers should be held criminally liable in her death.

The announcement came six months after Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, was shot to death by Louisville police officers in her apartment. A team of officers broke down the door in her apartment while executing a “no-knock” warrant — which does not require police to identify themselves — during a narcotics investigation. The warrant was for a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside her home.

Police were investigating two men suspected of selling drugs out of a house far from Taylor’s apartment. A judge allowed them to search her home because police believed one of the men used her apartment to receive packages.

Taylor’s death and that of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, have become the focus of protests against police brutality and racial injustice across the country.

Mr. Cameron said Wednesday that the grand jury decided not to bring homicide charges because the investigation concluded that Sgt. Mattingly and Detective Cosgrove were justified in using deadly force when they were fired upon by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.

Mr. Walker has said he believed the officers were intruders and fired one shot, hitting an officer in the leg. When the officers returned fire, Taylor was shot seven times.

There was “nothing conclusive to say” that any of Mr. Hankison’s bullets hit Taylor, Mr. Cameron said Wednesday.

“Justice is not often easy and does not fit the mold of public opinion. And it does not conform to shifting standards,” the state attorney general said. “I know that not everyone will be satisfied with the charges we’ve reported today.

He also disputed claims that police used a no-knock warrant.

“Evidence showed officers knocked and announced their presence at the apartment,” Mr. Cameron said.

Louisville had braced itself for civil unrest over the grand jury decision. The city and the police department had declared a state of emergency and restricted vehicle traffic to the downtown area. Stores and restaurants boarded up their windows as protesters gathered Wednesday.

For months, civil leaders have blasted the investigation, which they say was slow-walked, and demanded the arrest of all the officers involved.

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