Breonna Taylor: One officer charged with wanton endangerment, KY braces for riots
The three officers facing indictment for the death of Breonna Taylor were cleared by a Louisville grand jury of criminal charges in her death, with the jurors indicting one officer, Brett Hankison, on charges of reckless endangerment for shooting into a neighboring apartment. The state is prepared for riots as a result of the decision.
“A wanton endangerment charge is a class D felony and carries a penalty of one to five years in prison. The charges read by Judge Annie O’Connell on Wednesday said that Hankison ‘wantonly shot a gun’ into adjoining Apartment 3,” reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not indicted.
The city declared a state of emergency yesterday in anticipation that the jury would complete its work this week, erecting barriers around the downtown area and shutting down traffic in likely demonstration zones, while the governor activated the National Guard.
“Anticipating new protests, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder Wednesday afternoon announced a 72-hour countywide curfew starting 9 p.m. Government buildings will be closed,” reports CNN.
Following suit, neighboring Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also put state troops on “standby” in anticipation of a decision in the case.
“As the governor has always said, all of the state’s resources are available to municipalities if needed, and this includes additional Illinois State Police troopers and the National Guard,” said a statement by the governor’s office.
After the decision, Mayor Fischer called for peaceful protests.
“I urge everyone to commit once again to a peaceful, lawful response, like we’ve seen here for the majority of the past several months,” Fisher said.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) said that the grand jury decided that officer Mattingly and Detective Cosgrove “were justified in returning deadly fire after they were fired upon by Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend.” Taylor said that he had no way of knowing who was at the door.
“Justice is not often easy and does not fit the mold of public opinion. And it does not conform to shifting standards,” Cameron said. “I know that not everyone will be satisfied with the charges we’ve reported today.”
Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump called the decision of the grand jury “outrageous and offensive” on Twitter.
“Jefferson County Grand Jury indicts former ofc. Brett Hankison with 3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This is outrageous and offensive!” he tweeted.
Videos on Twitter showed that rioters with U-Hauls have prepared for the verdict in advance.
“Rioters in Louisville had a U-Haul on standby loaded up with supplies, and immediately geared up as soon as the Breonna Taylor decision was announced,” said David Hookstead.
“People pretend these riots happen out of nowhere. They don’t. They’re well-coordinated and prepared.”
PHOTO: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
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