Officer indicted in Breonna Taylor case plans to plead not guilty

Protesters stop traffic on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles to express outrage at police brutality on Friday, Sept. 18. Last week, That week, Louisville, Ky., Mayor Greg Fischer signed an ordinance that bans no-knock warrants like the one police were executing when they shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Sept. 25 (UPI) — Former Louisville, Ky., Metro Police Detective Brett Hankinson intends to plead not guilty to first-degree wanton endangerment charges for shots fired on the night officers killed Breonna Taylor.

Hankinson’s attorney, Stew Matthews, told CNN on Thursday that the evidence in the case does not support the charges against his client.

Demonstrations began in Louisville soon after the Wednesday announcement from the Jefferson County grand jury that it had indicted Hankinson on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for firing into an apartment next to Taylor’s — not the murder or manslaughter charges sought by Taylor’s family for her killing inside her home.

The grand jury decided that the other two officers involved in Taylor’s March 13 death, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, should face no charges as they acted in self-defense against Taylor’s boyfriend, who fired on them.

Ben Crump, the Taylor family’s attorney, called the grand jury decision a “sham proceeding that did nothing to give Breonna Taylor a voice.”

He told NBC’s Today Thursday that the family was “outraged.”

“They were insulted, and they were mostly offended,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what did the Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, present to the grand jury.”

Lousiville Mayor Greg Fischer extended a citywide 9 p.m. curfew through the weekend amid protests in the city.

Additionally, the governors of both Missouri and Massachusetts singed orders activating the National Guard in anticipation of widespread protests throughout the country.

During protests late Wednesday, two Louisville Metro Police officers were shot and a suspect was arrested, interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said.

Activists outside Kentucky also rallied against the decision.

In Chicago, hundreds marched downtown and in several neighborhoods. Members of a South Side church blocked a busy intersection in the Bronzeville neighborhood and poured fake blood onto the street, spelling out Taylor’s name.

“We’re here tonight because we do care,” pastor Michael Pfleger told the crowd. “We’re here because we want to say, ‘We object and we don’t accept it. Somebody has to be held accountable.'”

Others marched in Wicker Park and Logan Square on the North Side of Chicago.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier called the grand jury decision a “gross miscarriage of justice” and “absolutely heartbreaking,” but urged that protests stay peaceful.

Protesters in Milwaukee and the Minneapolis-St. Paul area — which saw unrest this summer after the shootings of Jacob Blake and George Floyd — blocked freeways and called for an end to racial injustice.

“The whole damn system is guilty as hell,” the Milwaukee activists chanted.

Some who’d gathered at the Milwaukee County Courthouse pulled the Wisconsin and U.S. flags off their poles.

In Atlanta, hundreds marched down Peachtree Street to the city’s police headquarters and later to the state Capitol, where some clashed with the National Guard.

“This is an empty indictment that serves as yet another miscarriage of justice and a slap in the face to the family of Breonna Taylor,” said New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant.

State troopers used tear gas to disperse protesters at the statehouse and made several arrests.

In Seattle, where President Donald Trump sent federal forces earlier this summer in response to anti-racism protests, police said several demonstrators were arrested.

The group marched through downtown Seattle to the federal courthouse, where they honored Taylor at a makeshift memorial.


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