‘This is Outrageous and Offensive!’
A grand jury in Jefferson County, Ky., indicted former Grand Jury: Police ‘Justified’ in Killing Breonna Taylor Angry Protesters Demand in Reaction to Kentucky Grand Jury’s Decision Louisville police detective Brett Hankison on Wednesday, charging him with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing a shot that entered 26- year-old EMT Breonna
Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment. However, in a stunning announcement, Kentucky Republican Attorney General, Daniel Cameron who is black, announced that neither Hankinson nor the two other white officers involved in the case, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were charged for their roles in the death of the innocent black woman as she slept in her apartment.
In a long-awaited press conference, Cameron told reporters Wednesday, “While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed and the grand jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Ken neth Walker,” Cameron said.
Cameron said that according to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves. “This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Ms. Breonna Taylor’s death.”
The announcement of the indictment outraged civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family.
Crump tweeted, “Jefferson County Grand Jury indicts former officer Brett Hankison with 3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor.
This is outrageous and offensive!” Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony, and means that a person has shown extreme indifference to the value of human life. It carries up to five years in prison for each count.
Taylor, 26, died after police tried to enter her residence on March 13 while she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping. Louisville officials said officers executed a no-knock warrant at the home, but knocked and announced themselves before breaking down the door, according to the police department.
Walker said he heard a pounding at the door but didn’t hear police announce themselves, the city said. He fired one shot and hit an officer.
Police returned fire, killing Taylor.
The Louisville Courier- Journal reported that Walker had fired what he called a warning shot and hit Mattingly in the thigh. Mattingly and two other officers with him, Hankison and Cosgrove, shot back, the newspaper said.
Louisville police turned over the investigation into the shooting to Cameron’s office in May.
The city had been gearing up for potential unrest following Wednesday’s decision.
Downtown buildings were boarded up and Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer set a three-day curfew on Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. “Our hope is that people will lawfully and peacefully express themselves,” Louisville Police Chief Rob Schroeder said. “We will not tolerate destruction of property.”
Democratic candidate Kamala Harris told a reporter as she was walking into a Senate committee meeting that shehad not had time to review the decision, but added, “Breonna Taylor’s family deserves justice, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, said in an interview with a news reporter, “policy is way behind public opinion” in referencing the events following the death of George Floyd and he urged that this decision surrounding the Breonna Taylor case is another opportunity for protesters to express their dissatisfaction, but to do so in a nonviolent manner.
Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP told a reporter that he was extremely disappointed with the AG’s announcement and he discussed why the Black Lives Matter movement is important.
“Our public policy must recognize black lives.“ Johnson said “our young people are angry and frustrated…this nation deserves more than we are seeing from our law enforcement officials.”
Johnson also said the “archaic” system of grand juries should be abolished because it “is a system held in secrecy without rebuttal.” Johnson continued, “There is nothing the Attorney General spoke to that justified the killing of Breonna Taylor who was in her home.”
Regarding protests that broke Wednesday in Louisville, following the announcement, Johnson urged non-violence but said that protests and demonstrations should continue. He told an MSNBC reporter, “Protests have to happen in order to get a reaction.
Whenever there is a reaction, we can get justice.” As of K.C. Globe presstime, the National Guard in Louisville had begun making their presence known among protesters.
Martin Luther King III, told MSNBC reporter when asked about anticipated violence that might occur during the protests, that his father, the late Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Riots are the language of the unheard.” He explained, “when conditions are fair and just you don’t have to worry about rioting and violence.”