A grand jury did not bring charges Wednesday against three Louisville, Kentucky police officers in the death of Breonna Taylor on March 13, although one officer was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in the incident.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron called Taylor’s death a “tragedy” and “gut-wrenching,” but said that the officers fired their weapons to protect themselves and were justified in doing so.
The wanton endangerment counts against officer Brett Hankison were not, in fact, related to Taylor’s death, but were in regard to some of the 10 bullets Hankison fired into Taylor’s apartment straying into a neighboring apartment and endangering three bystanders there.
Wanton endangerment is a Class D felony in the state, and each count could carry up to five years in prison.
Taylor’s death an accident
Taylor, 26, was shot and killed in her home as officers executed a no-knock search warrant there. Police believed Talyor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover was using her apartment to store drugs and drug money, but none were found there.
Taylor’s current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on the plainclothes officers, who returned fire. Walker later said he thought the officers were intruders and that he was protecting himself.
The officers said they knocked and identified themselves before entering the apartment, but Taylor’s family has disputed their claims. Taylor was hit several times by the officers as they returned Walker’s fire.
Riots feared after grand jury decision
Before the decision was announced, many buildings in Louisville were boarded up and Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) issued an emergency declaration, freezing officers’ vacation time so that it could have “appropriate” staffing levels during the aftermath of the grand jury decision.
Protests have been ongoing in the city, and some arrests had already been made by late in the afternoon as the decision was announced.
“It’s a tragedy. This is an embarrassment, and it’s exactly why there have been protests for the last (119) days,” pastor Tim Findley, a regular at the protests said. “This is a disappointing, hurtful, painful day in our city. What I just heard amounts to a slap on the wrist for him murdering, for them murdering Breonna Taylor.”
What Findley actually heard was that Taylor’s death was an accident following a misunderstanding or a mistake on her boyfriend’s part to fire at officers.
But people seem to hear what they want to hear these days, no matter what is said or how compassionately those in charge try to say it. Protesters want their pound of flesh, not the truth or true justice, and it’s time for law and order to come in and get them off the streets the minute they turn violent. Enough is enough.