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Grand jury indicts 1 police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Sep 23, 2020, 11:21 AM | Updated: 12:34 pm
FILE - This undated photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Lou...
FILE - This undated photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. (Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)
(Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted one officer on criminal charges six months after Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police in Kentucky. The jury presented its decision against fired officer Brett Hankison Wednesday to a judge in Louisville, where the shooting took place. Taylor was shot multiple times by officers who burst into her home on March 13 during a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found in her home. Protesters across the country have demanded justice for Taylor and other Black people killed by police in recent months.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron scheduled a news conference.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury in Kentucky was scheduled to announce Wednesday whether or not to charge police officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, whose killing six months ago helped spark protests across the country.

The news on whether charges will be filed against Louisville police officers involved in the deadly shooting has been long awaited by many in the city and around the country. After the grand jury announcement, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron planned to hold a news conference to discuss the grand jury’s report.

Meanwhile, officials in Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city, were preparing for more protests and possible unrest as the public nervously awaited a decision on charges in the shooting. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. curfew on Wednesday and urged people to protest peacefully.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation on 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. The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville’s Metro Council.

Cameron’s office had been receiving materials from the Louisville Police Department’s public integrity unit while they tried to determine whether state charges would be brought against the three officers involved, he has said.

Officer Brett Hankison was fired from the city’s police department June 23. A termination letter sent to him by interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the white officer had 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 in March.

Hankison, Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly, Officer Myles Cosgrove and the detective who sought the warrant, Joshua Jaynes, were placed on administrative reassignment after the shooting.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire when police burst in, hitting Mattingly. Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but prosecutors later dropped the charge.

Walker told police he heard knocking but didn’t know who was coming into the home and fired in self-defense.

On Sept. 15, the city settled a lawsuit against the three officers brought by Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, agreeing to pay her $12 million and enact police reforms.

Protesters in Louisville and across the country have demanded justice for Taylor and other Black people killed by police in recent months. The release in late May of a 911 call by Taylor’s boyfriend marked the beginning of days of protests in Louisville, fueled by her shooting and the violent death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Several prominent African American celebrities including Oprah and Beyoncé have joined those urging that the officers be charged.

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Grand jury indicts 1 police officer in Breonna Taylor death