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Louisville braces for riots: One officer charged for ‘endangerment,’ not murder in Breonna Taylor case

Louisville braces for riots: One officer charged for ‘endangerment,’ not murder in Breonna Taylor case
Streets in downtown Louisville have been blocked off and police put on high alert as Kentucky authorities announced they are charging an officer involved in the fatal shooting of an African-American woman in her home.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday that a grand jury came back with charges against former officer Brett Hankison, who will face three counts of "first degree wanton endangerment" for the raid that claimed the life of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, 26, was killed in March during a police raid to serve a narcotics warrant. Protests over her shooting escalated into violence after the May death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the ensuing nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. 

The investigation found that the raid was not a “no-knock” warrant as previously believed and reported, and that a witness has testified that officers knocked and announced themselves before entering the apartment, at which point Taylor’s boyfriend fired on them, Cameron said Wednesday. The officers’ returning fire was therefore found to be justified.

“If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge,” said Cameron, who is African-American himself.

Louisville has braced for another riot since Monday, with concrete barriers, fencing and even vehicles brought out to block major roads and intersections. The city’s police department declared a state of emergency on Monday, in anticipation of the announcement. The Kentucky National Guard was activated around noon on Wednesday, shortly before Cameron's announcement.

Also on rt.com Louisville police declare EMERGENCY ahead of Breonna Taylor announcement

The US district courthouse in Louisville and the nearby US Citizenship and Immigration Services field office were shuttered for the week as well, per orders from a federal judge.

The city has taken a number of steps to address Taylor’s killing since March, banning “no-knock” warrants, firing Hankison for “extreme indifference to the value of human life” and violating department procedures in July, and reaching a $12 million wrongful death settlement with Taylor’s family last week.

None of this seems to have mollified Black Lives Matter groups, however, who have called for arresting all three officers involved in Taylor’s death and charging them with murder. 

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