Two officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor walk free while one faces further charges
Protests have erupted in Louisville, Kentucky after the grand jury involved in Breonna Taylor’s case found the officers who killed Taylor to be justified in their actions. None of the officers involved were charged with her death.
President of the Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement today stating: “When the fact-based evidence was presented to the grand jury they decided that the officers were justified in using lethal force to protect themselves after Sgt. Mattingly was shot by Kenneth Walker. Tragically, Ms. Taylor was killed when these officers were forced to protect themselves from Mr. Walker.”
Kenneth Walker, who was Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, opened fire on police when they bursted into his home. The police returned fire and Taylor was shot six times.
The officers claim to have knocked prior to entering the home despite having a no-knock warrant. No-knock warrants have since been banned in the city of Louisville.
Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but prosecutors dropped the charge.
Officer Brett Hankison, who has been fired from the police force, is the only officer facing any conviction. He has been charged with three counts of first degree wanton endangerment for shooting into the home next to Taylor’s during the events of the night of March 13. The family within the neighboring home included a man, a pregnant woman and a child.
Each count of wanton endangerment maintains a possible sentence between one and five years, leading Hankison to a maximum of 15 years in prison if found guilty. The jury did not find conclusive evidence that any of Hankison’s bullets hit Taylor.
ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams stated in response to the jury’s decision, “It seems clear the grand jurors did not believe that [the officers] acted beyond the scope of the warrant except for Hankison firing that weapon.”
The protests which have erupted since the verdict have led to 16 instances of looting and hundreds of arrests.
Larynzo Johnson, 26, shot at police during Wednesday night’s demonstration and has since been charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and 14 counts of wanton endangerment, according to the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections. He is currently in custody.
Interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said officers Maj. Aubrey Gregory and Robinson Desroches were shot after investigating multiple reports of gunfire at an intersection where a large crowd was present.
The officers did not sustain life-threatening injuries. According to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Maj. Gregory has been released from the hospital and Desroches is currently recovering from surgery.
Political journalist, Jarrett Hill, told CNN that the indictment confirmed “the system is not working for us.”
“I think the message to the people across this country is we don’t care about you,” Hill remarked, “especially if you are Black, and even more if you are [a woman].”
Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, has yet to issue a statement concerning the recent indictment. However, Palmer posted a photo of her daughter this morning with a hashtag that read, “#ThesystemfailedBreonna.”
Taylor’s cousin, Tawana Gordon issued a statement directly following the indictment. “I’m not surprised but I’m mad as hell because nothing’s changing,” Gordon said. “Today’s decision was an additional injustice on our family and this country.”
Taylor’s family reached a $12 million settlement last week with the city of Louisville. The federal government is currently running an investigation to prove whether or not Taylor’s civil rights were violated during the incident.
Tonight, cities across the country such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington and New York are bracing for a second night of protests and the possibility of violence.