People in Louisville and across the country are unleashing their anger after a Kentucky grand jury on Wednesday indicted one officer for allegedly endangering the neighbors of Breonna Taylor during the police shooting that killed her.
Officer Brett Hankison, who has been fired, was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly endangering Taylor’s neighbors when he fired into the apartment complex.
The neighboring apartment had three people inside, thus the three charges against Hankinson, said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
The other officers involved in Taylor’s death were not charged.
Taylor family attorney Ben Crump tweeted Wednesday, “NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This 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 wrote.
On the streets of Louisville, after the sole indictment was announced, some wept, some chanted and some marched.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot dead by police while in her Louisville home on March 13. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep when three Louisville Metro Police Department officers, including Hankinson, tried to execute a “no-knock” search warrant. The officers were investigating a suspected drug operation linked to Taylor’s ex-boyfriend.
Hankinson was fired and the other officers involved were placed on administrative duty. Taylor’s death sparked months of nationwide protests against police violence and calls for the officers to be charged. Across the country, people turned to social media Wednesday to voice their frustration and anger.
The ACLU of Kentucky called this “the latest miscarriage of justice in our nation’s long history of denying that Black lives matter.”
“We join the Taylor family and the community in protesting and mourning the Commonwealth’s choice to deny justice for Breonna,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Breonna Taylor was killed when plainclothes officers used a no-knock warrant to enter her home in the middle of the night. They did not even perform life-saving measures as she took her last breaths after they shot her five times. Throughout this tragic series of events, including today, the police and prosecutors continuously have failed Breonna Taylor, her family, and Black Kentuckians.
“This outcome shows us that true police accountability does not exist in Kentucky,” the ACLU said. “The results of this investigation reflect insufficient standards for police use of force, government-sanctioned violence and terror in communities of color, and a need to completely rebuild our justice system.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, tweeted, “Officers murdered Breonna Taylor. This decision isn’t justice, it’s injustice. We must keep standing up and speaking out. We must keep organizing. We must keep the pressure on until there is full accountability, a reimagining of policing, and transformative justice—nothing less.”
Qasim Rashid, who is running for Congress in Virginia, tweeted. “An innocent Black woman was murdered by law enforcement while she slept in the comfort of her own home. She committed no crime, refused no command, & was a model citizen by every possible measure. Still—the men who killed her will walk free. There are two Americas.”
The Louisville mayor said there will be a 72-hour curfew starting Wednesday night.
Cameron said federal prosecutors are looking into potential civil rights charges.
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