Kentucky Grand Jury Charges 1 of the 3 Officers Who Shot Breonna Taylor

Kentucky Grand Jury Charges 1 of the 3 Officers Who Shot Breonna Taylor

A Kentucky grand jury has decided to press charges against just one of the three police officers who shot Breonna Taylor.

The grand jury has decided to move forward with three counts of wanton endangerment against former detective Brett Hankison for shooting into the apartments of Taylor’s neighbors, the night of March 13, reports NPR.

Hankison is now being held on a $15,000 cash bond. In the state, wanton endangerment is a Class D felony, punishable with fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison. The other two officers, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, were not charged.

Taylor, a former EMT, and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep the night of March 13 when Louisville Metro Police barged into her home with a no-knock warrant in relation to a drug investigation. The noise woke Taylor, who believed someone was trying to break-in. Walker, who is a registered gun owner, fired a shot toward their bedroom door.

The police responded, firing a bevy of shots toward the couple and hitting Taylor five times. Detective Hankison has since been fired for his actions.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a press coneference Wednesday after the charges were announced that the other two officers who were not charged, were justified in their use of force.

“Our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” Cameron said during the press conference.

Cameron added that an FBI crime lab determined officer Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor.

“Six bullets struck Ms. Taylor and… only one shot was fatal,” Cameron said, adding she would have died within “a few seconds to two minutes.”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has declared a state of emergency and has installed a curfew of 72 hours beginning at 9 p.m. Wednesday night. Police Chief Robert Schroeder added the National Guard has been activated and Louisville police will be getting assistance from multiple law enforcement partners. Louisville Metro Government buildings will also be closed through Thursday.

However, this is not expected to stop protests and potential rioting. Within minutes of the announcement, protesters were recorded pulling materials out of a U-Haul moving truck to use.

The NAACP released a statement denouncing the decision to charge just one officer in the case.

“The injustice we’re witnessing at this moment can be sensed throughout the nation. The failure to bring substaintial charges against the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor causes angst and pain for far too many Americans still reeling from a pandemic,” the NAACP said. “Atrocities committed against the people of this country by the authorities cannot and should not go unanswered when miscalculations are made. The continuous and blatant failure of a system sworn to protect the very citizens it endangers is all too telling of its efficiency and viability.

“The justice system failed Breonna Taylor and, as such, failed us. From the officers’ ill-informed conduct to the city official’s delayed response, their actions have discredited their pledge and responsibility to the greater community,” The gorup added. “It is unacceptable that, once again, culpability has eluded those guilty of state-sanctioned murder.”

Ben Crump, the attorney for the Taylor family, called the decision “outrageous and offensive,” on Twitter and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber said on CNN that Black people who want justice, have to continue to keep pushing and fighting.

“It’s not what we wanted… Anything less than indictments for a full extent of the officers’ actions ultimately cannot stand… We have to keep on pushing.”

Celebrities and politicans including Kerry Washington, Common, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and comedian W. Kamau Bell shared their thoughts on the charges on social media.