Updated Sep 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

Details: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

  • The two other officers who fired shots, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were not charged. Hankison's bond was set at $15,000.

Driving the news: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a press conference that evidence shows the officers who entered Taylor's home knocked and announced their presence. He added that officers Mattingly and Cosgrove were "justified" in firing after they were shot at by Taylor's boyfriend.

  • Dozens of protesters gathered in the downtown Louisville park that has served as the center of demonstrations for more than 115 days following the grand jury's decision. "Not enough," some protesters cried out after the decision was announced.
  • A petition demanding justice for Taylor had garnered more than 11 million signatures by Wednesday night.

What they're saying: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear at his daily press conference urged Cameron to release more evidence from the investigation, including the ballistic reports.

  • Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Taylor family, tweeted that the grand jury indictment of Hankison, which is not related to Taylor's death, is "outrageous and offensive."
"If Brett Hankison's behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor's apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!" he added.
— Crump
  • Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and the CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, tweeted, "Praying for Breonna’s mother and family. Because they knew and loved her before her name became a hashtag." 
  • Martin Luther King III tweeted, "This is a sad day for America and for justice.”
  • President Trump said, "I thought [the decision] was really brilliant. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is doing a fantastic job, I think he's a star."
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said the jury's decision "does not answer" calls for equal justice. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted that she's thinking of Taylor's family. "We must never stop speaking Breonna’s name as we work to reform our justice system, including overhauling no-knock warrants," she added.

Of note: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday and issued a 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. curfew "due to the potential for civil unrest" for the next three days. Most of the protests in Louisville since May have remained peaceful.

  • Portions of the city's downtown have been on virtual lockdown since late Monday . The Louisville Metro Police Department erected barricades, closing down traffic to vehicles.
  • The state's National Guard has also been activated.
  • Protests were taking place in different parts of Louisville and in cities across the U.S.
  • Two officers were wounded in a shooting near the area where protests were taking place late Wednesday.

Background: Taylor was alive for at least 20 minutes after police officers entered her home on March 13 and shot her during a drug investigation into her former boyfriend, who did not live there, the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

  • Officers used a battering ram to break down Taylor's door, despite her not being a main suspect, and shot her at least five times after her then-current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired his gun at an officer in self-defense, per the Courier Journal.
  • Taylor did not receive medical attention after the shooting even though she showed signs of life, including coughing and labored breathing, according to Walker and police dispatch logs.
  • The Jefferson County coroner disputed that account to the New York Times, saying Taylor "had little to no chance of survival, and was likely to have died in 'less than a minute.'"

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout to include reactions and additional information.

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