US grand jury indicts police officer on criminal charges over Breonna Taylor shooting


A grand jury indicted an officer on criminal charges six months after Breonna Taylor was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky.

Officer Brett Hankison has been charged with three counts of endangerment for shooting at nearby apartments during the March 13 raid.

But the grand jury did not go ahead with charges against officers for their role in Ms Taylor’s death.

The 26-year-old has been shot and killed several times by police after breaking into the door of her apartment.

Breonna Taylor was shot dead on March 13 (courtesy of Breonna Taylor’s family)

A so-called arrest warrant allegedly used to search his home was linked to a suspect who did not live there. No drugs were found inside.

In open court Tuesday, Jefferson Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell read the grand jury’s decision to indict Hankison.

But later at a press conference, State Attorney General Daniel Cameron explained that the indictment was linked to shots fired at neighboring apartments and not directly to the shooting at Mrs. Taylor.

Mr Cameron also said the shots fired at Ms Taylor’s apartment were “justified” by law.

He said Hankison and the other two officers announced themselves before entering Ms Taylor’s apartment and did not use an arrest warrant.

Brett Hankison has been charged with gratuitous endangerment (AP)

Mr Cameron told reporters: “Under Kentucky law, the use of force by (Officers Jonathan Mattingly and (Myles) Cosgrove was justified for self-protection. This justification prevents us from pursuing criminal charges for death. by Miss Breonna Taylor. ”

Referring to the inevitable disappointment of those who wanted criminal proceedings to be brought for the death of Ms Taylor, he said: “The decision of which my office was the special prosecutor in this case was not to decide whether the death of Ms Taylor was a tragedy. The answer to that is unequivocal yes. ”

Mr Cameron added: “I understand that the death of Breonna Taylor is part of a national history, but the facts and evidence in this case are different from others” involving police shootings.

“If we just act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice,” Cameron said. “Popular justice is not justice. The justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge. ”

He added that the FBI was still investigating potential violations of federal law in this case.

Immediately after the announcement, people expressed frustration that the grand jury hadn’t done more.

His death sparked widespread protests against racial inequality and police brutality (AP)

“Justice has NOT been served,” tweeted Linda Sarsour of Until Freedom, a group that lobbied for charges in the case. ” Get up. All over this country. All over. Get up for #BreonnaTaylor. ”

Attorney Ben Crump, who represents Taylor’s family, tweeted that the charges were “NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor.” It is scandalous and offensive! ”

Ms Taylor’s death, alongside that of George Floyd, has sparked protests across the country demanding racial justice and ending the excessive use of force by law enforcement.

Previously, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 72-hour curfew for the city starting at 9 p.m., with exceptions for those who go to work or seek treatment.

Before charges were laid, Hankison was fired from the city police department on June 23.

A termination letter sent to him by Acting Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the white officer violated due process by showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life When he “indiscriminately and indiscriminately fired 10 shots at Ms. Taylor’s apartment in March.” .

Mattingly, Cosgrove and the warrant-seeking detective Joshua Jaynes were also put on administrative transfer following the shooting.

Ms Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker opened fire when police broke in, hitting Mattingly and he was charged with attempted murder of a police officer.

However, prosecutors later dropped the charge.

He had told the police that he had heard shots but did not know who was entering the house and firing in self-defense.

On September 15, the city settled a lawsuit against the three officers brought by Ms Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, agreeing to pay her $ 12 million and enact police reforms.

Protesters across the country have called for justice for Ms Taylor and other black people killed by police in recent months.

The release in late May of a 911 call by Ms Taylor’s boyfriend marked the start of days of protests in Louisville, fueled by his shooting and the violent death of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis May 25.

Several prominent American celebrities, including Oprah and Beyonce, joined those who urged the officers to be charged.


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