Updated Sep 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Louisville declares state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor while chanting during a protest (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday "due to the potential for civil unrest" ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

"Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement. At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe. ... we do not know when the announcement will come, but we must prepare for it."
Statement by Fischer

What's happening: Cameron is expected to announce a decision on charges as early as this week. The Louisville police chief declared a state of emergency for the department on Monday.

  • "The public may also see barriers being staged around downtown, which is another part of our preparations," Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) spokesperson Lamont Washington said in a statement to the Courier Journal announcing that department was cancelling all pending vacation request and days off. "It is important to note that the AG has said there is no timetable for the announcement." 
  • Two federal buildings, including the federal courthouse, in downtown Louisville have also been closed and boarded up in preparation of an announcement, local media reported.

The big picture: Taylor was shot dead by police on March 13 when LMPD officers conducting a narcotics investigation barged into the 26-year-old's home in plain-clothes to serve a "no-knock" warrant.

  • Police exchanged fire with Taylor's boyfriend, who said he fired believing the home was being broken into.
  • Protests over Taylor's death erupted in Louisville in May following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
  • The Louisville Metro Council has since banned no-knock warrants.
  • Last week, Louisville announced a $12 million settlement package with Taylor's family. The settlement also includes a series of police reforms. Taylor's family has continued to call for the officers involved in her death to be charged.

Go deeper: What you need to know about the Breonna Taylor shooting

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Fischer's announcement on the state of emergency.

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