A Kentucky grand jury has brought no direct charges upon Louisville police for the killing of Breonna Taylor, with prosecutors saying that the police officers involved in the shooting were justified in using force to protect themselves.
The grand jury indicted only one former police officer, Brett Hankison, for shooting into Taylor’s neighbours’ apartments. He has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment.
Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, the officers who fired shots when Breonna Taylor was killed during the raid on March 13, were not indicted for their actions.
26-year-old Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times after officers broke down the door of her apartment.
Kentucky Attorney-General Daniel Cameron said six bullets hit Breonna Taylor that night, one of the shots was fatal. An FBI ballistics analysis showed Cosgrove fired the shot that killed her.
The warrant used to search Taylor’s home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and there were no drugs found inside the apartment.
“Criminal law is not meant to respond to every sorrow and grief,” Attorney-General Cameron said regarding the decision.
“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 [involving police shootings].”
The decision has been immediately criticised as insufficient by protestors and people across the United States. Protestors began gathering in Louisville right after the decision was made and have been marching through the streets, shouting “No justice, no peace!”
Attorney Ben Crump, who represented Taylor’s family, said the decision was ‘outrageous’ and ‘offensive’.
“If Hankison’s behavior constituted wanton endangerment of the people in the apartments next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder,” Crump said.
To not indict the officers for murder is to claim #BreonnaTaylor killed herself. Racist America constantly kills Black people and then tells Black people we killed ourselves. Racism extends past death. But we’ll never stop declaring that our lives matter, that our deaths matter.— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) September 23, 2020