Breonna Taylor: Two officers shot during Louisville protests

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Two officers have been shot amid huge protests in the US city of Louisville after a grand jury decided no officers would face charges for killing unarmed black woman Breonna Taylor.

Ms. Taylor, 26, a hospital worker, was shot multiple times as three officers stormed her home on 13 March.

One, Brett Hankison, has been charged, not with Ms. Taylor’s death, but with “wanton endangerment” for firing into a neighbour’s apartment in Louisville.

Two other officers face no charges.

Cases of killings of unarmed black people by police have fuelled anger across the US and beyond, triggered especially by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

Louisville captain Robert Schroeder said the cops shot on Wednesday didn’t have life-threatening injuries.

He added that a suspect was in custody.

A state of emergency has been declared in Louisville and therefore the National Guard has also been deployed.

Mayor Greg Fischer has set a 21:00-06:30 (01:00-10:30 GMT) curfew within the city for 3 days. He earlier said he had declared a state of emergency “due to the potential for civil unrest”.

Despite the curfew, crowds were still gathered after 21:00. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear urged the protesters to travel home.

“We know that the solution to violence isn’t violence and that we are brooding about those two officers and their families tonight. So I’m asking everybody: please, go home. head home tonight,” he said.

Protests over the grand jury’s decision were also held in NY , Washington, Atlanta, and Chicago.

What did the prosecutor say?
Under Kentucky law, someone is guilty of wanton endangerment if they commit an act that shows “extreme indifference to the worth of human life”.

This lowest-level felony offense can accompany a five-year sentence for every count. Brett Hankison was charged on three counts.

Ms. Taylor’s relatives and activists for whom her death has become a rallying cry had been calling for the three officers, who are all white, to be charged with murder or manslaughter.

But this was rejected by a jury that reviewed the evidence.

On Wednesday, Judge Annie O’Connell announced the fees that had been brought against Mr. Hankison.

Kentucky Attorney General Mr. Cameron then held a press conference during which he expanded on the choice. “This may be a gut-wrenching emotional case,” he said.

“There is nothing I offer them today to require away the grief and heartache as a result of losing a toddler, a niece, a sister, and a lover,” he added during a message to Ms. Taylor’s family.

Mr. Cameron said a ballistics report had found that six bullets struck Ms. Taylor, but just one was fatal.

That analysis concluded that Detective Myles Cosgrove had fired the shot that killed Ms. Taylor.

The attorney general said it had been not clear if Mr. Hankison’s shots had hit Ms Taylor, but that they had hit a neighbouring apartment.

The top prosecutor said the opposite two officers – Jonathan Mattingly and Mr. Cosgrove – had been “justified to guard themselves and therefore the justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges”.

Mr. Cameron, a Republican who is that the state’s first black attorney general, added: “If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there’s no justice.

“Mob justice isn’t justice. Justice sought by violence isn’t justice. It just becomes revenge.”

He added that the FBI was still investigating potential violations of federal law within the case.

What’s the reaction?
Ben Crump, a high-profile lawyer for the Taylor family, said the result was “outrageous and offensive”.

Officials this month agreed to pay her family $12m (£9.3m) during a settlement.

Asked for his reaction to the choice, Mr. Trump told a White House news conference: “I thought it had been really brilliant.”

He praised Kentucky’s attorney general, who addressed the Republican Party convention last month, for “doing an incredible job”.

“I think he’s a star,” he said, adding that he approved of the Kentucky governor’s decision to send the National Guard.

Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, urged Kentucky prosecutors to release the evidence that was presented to the jury.

“I think having more of the facts out there so people can see, people can truly process it, is where we’d like to be,” Mr. Beshear told reporters.

What happened to Ms. Taylor?
Shortly after midnight on Friday 13 March, she was in bed together with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, once they heard a banging on the door.

Plainclothes Louisville cops were completing a narcotics raid, and that they used a ram to enter the property.

A judge had granted a warrant to look Ms. Taylor’s home because investigators suspected a convicted pusher – her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover – was using the address to receive packages. She had no record.

Mr Walker fired a shot from his licensed gun, later telling police he thought that Glover had broken in, according to the New York Times.

Source: bbc news

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