Breonna Taylor’s attorney has slammed the Kentucky grand jury’s Wednesday decision to indict one out of three officers involved in the police-involved shooting death of Breonna Taylor as “outrageous and offensive.”
The grand jury announced Wednesday its decision to indict a former Louisville police officer Brett Hankinson on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree – but not to indict the two other officers – six months after the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March.
Benjamin Crump tweeted shortly after the decision that the wanton endangerment charges weren’t enough – murder, he said, should have been on the list of charges announced.
“Today’s news falls far short of what constitutes justice. But by no means does it define this movement or this moment in our history. The Grand Jury may have denied Breonna justice, but this decision cannot take away her legacy as a loving, vibrant young Black woman who served on the front lines in the midst of a devastating pandemic,” reads a subsequent statement released by Crump and his co-counsel. “Make no mistake, we will keep fighting this fight in Breonna’s memory, and we will never stop saying her name.”
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by officers who entered her home using a warrant during a narcotics investigation March 13. The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
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Hankinson was fired on June 23. A termination letter sent to him by interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the white officer violated procedures by showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly” shot 10 rounds of gunfire into Taylor’s apartment.
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Hankison, Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly, officer Myles Cosgrove and the detective who sought the warrant, Joshua Jaynes, were placed on administrative reassignment after the shooting.
The grand jury decided not to indict the two other officers who fired their weapons.
The family’s co-counsel, Lonita Baker, wrote in a statement posted to her Facebook page that could not make sense of the decision.
“I can’t make it make sense in my head,” she wrote, in part. “Wanton endangerment to a neighboring apartment constitutes wanton endangerment to Breonna. She was clearly unarmed – as indicated in Mattingly’s statement – yet multiple bullets were fired at her while she was already on the ground. A search warrant obtained with lies … If there were facts sufficient to indict for wanton endangerment to other people, there were facts sufficient to indict for wanton murder of Breonna.”
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Other prominent figures and public officials began expressing frustration immediately after the decision was announced. Civil rights activist Linda Sarsour tweeted, “Justice has NOT been served.”
During a press conference after the news of the indictment, Attorney General David Cameron said he had “a hard meeting” with Taylor’s family earlier that day.
“It was a difficult meeting,” he said. “Look, when I ran for this office, I ran because I had some singular ideas in mind and you never know exactly what issues you’ll be presented with and what challenges you’ll be presented with. Today was one of those challenges – to have to sit in that room and provide the information to Ms. Palmer and to other members of the Taylor family, it’s been a difficult day.”
Since Taylor’s death, protesters across the country have since demanded justice for Taylor and other Black people killed by police in recent months.
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In preparation for potential protests following the grand jury’s announcement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a curfew from 9 p.m. Wednesday until 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.