Protests erupted in Louisville, and around the country, after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced there would be no charges in the killing of Breonna Taylor. On September 23, a grand jury returned three counts of “wanton endangerment” in the first degree against former officer Brett Hankinson in connection with the fatal shooting of Taylor. A $15,000 cash bond has also been attached to the charges. The other two officers, Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not charged. They remain on the force, while Hankinson was fired in July.
Militarized police fired tear gas as they faced off against protestors who were peacefully demonstrating against the grand jury's decision. Masked and armed right-wing militia members were also on the streets. According to Revolt.TV, the group of men were later identified as members of the National Patriotic Defense Team, a right-wing militant group based in Kentucky. Clips of the armed men soon surfaced on social media.
During the tense face-off in Louisville, 100 protestors were reportedly arrested and two officers were shot, neither sustained life-threatening injuries. According to The Courier Journal, Interim LMPD chief Robert Schroeder said one officer was shot in the abdomen and is in surgery. The other was shot in the thigh and is in stable condition. An unidentified suspect is in custody.
Louisville police told The Associated Press that 127 people were arrested during protests overnight.
Louisiana Gov. Andy Beshear said in a social media video last night, "Sadly we have seen at least one individual turn what were nonviolent ways of expressing ourselves into the shooting of at least two law enforcement officers. We know that the answer to violence is never violence, and we are thinking about those two officers and their families tonight.”
Beshear also added, "So I'm asking everybody, please, go home. Go home tonight. There will be many times over the coming days where there will be an opportunity to be heard, and so many people are listening right now."
Schroeder declared a state of emergency for the Louisville Metro Police Department on Tuesday (September 22). WKRN reported that according to a memo sent out by the chief, the department is now under emergency staffing and canceled all time off and vacation requests.
After midnight on March 13, Hankison, Cosgrove and Mattingly executed a botched “no-knock” warrant at Taylor's apartment (although the Kentucky Attorney General claimed the warrant was not a no-knock warrant and the police did announce their presence prior to barging into the apartment) which she shared with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. Believing they were intruders, Walker fired his weapon and gunfire from the officers ensued. The 26-year old EMT was struck six times and died.
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(Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)