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Demonstrations in Louisville after Grand Jury Decision in Breonna Taylor Case

Protests erupted in Louisville, Kentucky after a grand jury’s decision in the case of 3 police officers accused in the death of a young black woman.  A curfew has been imposed in the city and other precautions are being undertaken to maintain order.

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Officer Brett Hankison on 3 counts of first-degree wanton endangerment after an FBI investigation found bullets fired from Hankison’s gun in neighboring apartments The Hill reported.  

The other two officers involved in the March 13 incident that resulted in the death of EMT Breonna Taylor, 26, Myles Cosgrove and Johnathan Mattingly, were not charged with any crimes.  Mattingly was wounded in the leg during the operation and recovered from his wound after undergoing surgery at a local Louisville hospital.

Hankison was arrested, booked, and released on $15,000 bail.

The 3 officers were conducting a no-knock warrant when they were confronted by Taylor’s boyfriend wielding a gun.  The subsequent exchange of shots resulted in the death of Taylor, who was asleep at the time.  

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, authorized a limited deployment of the Kentucky National Guard to Louisville in anticipation of trouble.  He also asked the state’s Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, to release the evidence heard by the grand jury.  “I believe that the public deserves this information,” Gov. Beshear said. “So I previously made what I would call a suggestion to the attorney general, and now I’m making the request that he post online all the information, evidence and facts that he can release without impacting the three felony counts in the indictment issued today.”  He continued, “Everyone can and should be informed. And those that are currently feeling frustration, feeling hurt, they deserve to know more.”

AG Cameron commented on the grand jury’s decision.  “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 Miss Breonna Taylor’s death,” he said.  “The decision before my office as the special prosecutor, in this case, was not to decide if the loss of Ms. Taylor’s life was a tragedy. The answer to that is unequivocally, ‘yes,'” Cameron continued. “I understand that Breonna Taylor’s death is part of a national story, but the facts and evidence in this case are different than others…”

“If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice,” Cameron, a black man, said. “Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”

Cameron’s words were not heeded by the many demonstrators that appeared in downtown Louisville following the grand jury’s decision.  Already Wednesday afternoon saw hundreds of demonstrators gathering and chanting.  The Daily Mail (UK) reported that early clashes between police and protestors resulted in several arrests and warning from the authorities.  A message was delivered over a loudspeaker to the crowds to disperse or face the consequences.  “If you do not do so we may dispense chemical agents and you will be arrested,” the message said.

The demonstrations were not exactly spontaneous as video emerged of a U-Haul truck pulling up to a crowded area and disbursing signs reading ‘Abolish the police’ and ‘Abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).’  There is no information yet on who is responsible for the signs.

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