REVIEW - US Police, Protesters Clash In Louisville Over Breonna Taylor Announcement

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 24th September, 2020) Mass protests erupted in Louisville, Kentucky, prompting the deployment of the National Guard and Federal agents, after the state Attorney General announced that the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, will not face criminal charges.

Taylor was killed in her Louisville home in March when police officers executed a drug search warrant. Taylor's boyfriend allegedly fired a first shot in self-defense fearing the entrants were burglars, which prompted the four police officers to unleash a hail of bullets on the house, hitting Taylor six times.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced in a press conference on Wednesday that the use of force by two police officers in Breonna Taylor's death in March was justified under state law after they were fired upon by Taylor's boyfriend.

"While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed and the grand jury agreed that [officer Jonathan] Mattingly and [detective Myles] Cosgrove were justified in their return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by [Taylor's boyfriend] Kenneth Walker," Cameron said.

Cameron said this justification bars his office from pursuing criminal charges against the police officers.

However, Cameron said a US grand jury has decided to indict former police officer Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first-degree after shots he fired during the police raid of Taylor's apartment went into an apartment next door and seriously endangered the three residents inside.

US Judge Annie O'Connell issued a warrant for Hankison's arrest and his bond was set at $15,000. If convicted on all three counts, Hankison could face up to 15 years in prison.

Moreover, Cameron pointed out that evidence shows officers knocked and announced their presence at Taylor's apartment when serving their warrant - contrary to initial reports that police officers executed a no-knock drug search warrant late at night.

Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Robert Schroeder said in a briefing after the Breonna Taylor announcement that the Kentucky National Guard and US federal agents deployed to Louisville to help local law enforcement restore order if civil unrest intensifies.

Large groups of law enforcement officers in riot gear clashed with protesters in Louisville several hours after the Breonna Taylor announcement, according to television footage from the scene.

The video footage showed police officers using non-lethal weapons, like rubber bullets, and arresting several protesters.

Other video showed some protesters trying to damage at least two businesses in Louisville, but no serious damage was done. Other footage shows a woman in a U-Haul truck dropping off shields for protesters to use.

US President Donald Trump said during a press conference that he intends to speak to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear about the rioting in the city of Louisville.

Trump called the deployment of the National Guard in Louisville to quell social unrest a "positive development."

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden called on enraged protesters to be peaceful.

"Do not sully her memory or her mother by engaging in any violence. It's totally inappropriate for that to happen. And she wouldn't want it nor would her mother. So I hope they do that calmly," Biden told reporters.

Black civil rights leader Jesse Jackson during a press conference in Chicago also called on protesters to refrain from violence, adding that it could help President Donald Trump's re-election.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Breonna Taylor's family, said in a statement that the only charges announced in Taylor's case are outrageous and offensive.

"Jefferson County Grand Jury indicts former [officer] 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," Crump said in a statement via Twitter.

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been very vocal about racial injustice, told reporters that Breonna Taylor's death is not just the result of one person, but of a system, structure and department that failed the community of Louisville.

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the charges brought forward by the grand jury hold no one accountable for Taylor's death, adding that her family is left searching for justice.