US: Police officer charged over Breonna Taylor raid — but not for her death | News | DW | 23.09.2020

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US: Police officer charged over Breonna Taylor raid — but not for her death

One officer was charged over the botched raid that led to the killing of a Black woman in Kentucky — but the grand jury brought no charges directly related to her death. Protests turned violent, with two officers shot.

Two police officers were shot during protests that erupted in Louisville, Kentucky, over a grand jury's decision earlier Wednesday not to indict police officers on charges directly related to Breonna Taylor's death. 

The grand jury on Wednesday charged a police officer over the raid that went awry and led to the fatal shooting of the Black medical worker earlier this year — but no criminal charges were brought against Louisville officers for Taylor's death.

Officers shot at Taylor multiple times when they entered her apartment on March 13, and a ballistics report found that six bullets struck the 26-year-old, one fatally.

Read more: Louisville, Kentucky, offers compensation

The police killing of the emergency room technician played a major role in renewed nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, known as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Gunfire at protest

As the jury's decision emerged Wednesday, hundreds of protesters massed downtown Louisville, chanting: "No justice, no peace!" Some sat or stood in stunned silence, while others cried.

After squads of police officers had dispersed demonstrators, interim police chief Robert Schroeder said two officers had been wounded by gunfire. He described the situation as "very dangerous."

Louisville police have said the two injured officers were stable and expected to recover and that a suspect was in custody.

In one Louisville confrontation, police in protective gear were seen detaining some protesters.

Breonna Taylor protest Louisville

Police clashed with protesters in Louisville, Kentucky, as people reacted to the decision in the criminal case over Breonna Taylor's death

"Louisville Metro Police has made at least 46 arrests in the first night of protests after no direct charges were filed against any police involved in #BreonnaTaylor death," DW correspondent Stefan Simons tweeted on Thursday morning around 2:30 a.m. local time (6:30 a.m. UTC).

Hundreds of demonstrators also gathered on Wednesday in Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia, while in New York City protesters chanted, "Say her name, Breonna Taylor."

'Wanton endangerment'

Earlier, in Louisville, the grand jury had said police officer Brett Hankinson should face three counts of "wanton endangerment"  for shooting into the homes of Taylor's neighbors. None of the charges relate directly to Taylor's death.

Under Kentucky law, wanton endangerment is a felony crime that shows "an extreme indifference to the value of human life," with each count carrying up to five years in jail.

Two other officers who raided Taylor's home, including one who is believed to have fired the fatal shot, were not charged.

'Outrageous,' declare Taylor's lawyers

Lawyers for Taylor's family called the lack of charges brought in direct relation to her death "outrageous."

Breonna Taylor protest

A woman cries as police detain demonstrators during a protest after a decision was reached in the criminal case against Louisville police officers

Last week, the city of Louisville settled a wrongful death suit with the Taylor family for $12 million (€10 million).

"This is a gut-wrenching emotional case," said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. "There is nothing I can offer them today to take away the grief and heartache as a result of losing a child, a niece a sister, and a friend."

Taylor, who had no criminal record, was killed when narcotics officers raided her apartment and used a battering ram to remove her front door off its hinges.

She was in bed with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when the officers entered. Walker said he assumed they were victims of a break-in, firing one shot from his pistol. Three officers then returned fire.

Investigators said that bullet struck one police officer in the leg, which later needed surgery.

The officers found no drugs.

Police have said they announced themselves before entering the apartment — but Taylor's family and neighbors dispute the account. 

State prosecutors said two police officers in the raid — Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — had acted in self-defense and would not be charged.

A state of emergency was declared in Louisville ahead of the grand jury charges as officials expected protests. The National Guard was authorized to protect infrastructure in Louisville.

jf/stb (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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