What to know about Breonna Taylor decision: 100+ arrested in Louisville; protests sweep across US; lawyer says Ky. attorney general ‘failed’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the wake of a grand jury decision Wednesday to charge only one officer for shooting into a neighboring apartment in the case of Breonna Taylor, protests in Louisville led to more than 100 arrests overnight, including two reporters. Two police officers who were shot are expected to recover, and one suspect was in custody. 

Protesters also took to the streets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., to express shock and frustration over the lack of homicide charges for the officers.

A Kentucky grand jury indicted former detective Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, on three felony charges of wanton endangerment. Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, two other officers involved, were not charged.

Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was killed after officers used a search warrant at her apartment shortly before 1 a.m. on March 13, looking for drugs and cash as part of a larger narcotics investigation connected to her former boyfriend. She was shot six times. 

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Here’s what you need to know to start your Thursday:

Louisville cleans up after another night of protests

Crews in yellow jackets are cleaning up around downtown Louisville on Thursday morning after protesters filled the streets the night before following a grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Video showed crews sweeping up garbage and putting it into garbage trucks.

A police statement says people were arrested after damaging businesses and more were detained after jumping on city vehicles being used as barricades.

Taylor family lawyers demand action from attorney general

Lonita Baker, the lawyer for Breonna Taylor’s mother, said on CNN Thursday that the two officers who shot Taylor are not entitled to the self-defense justification because the 26-year-old was unarmed and did not pose a threat.

“(Kentucky Attorney General) Daniel Cameron failed,” Baker said. “He needs to learn the law of self-defense in Kentucky because as he stated yesterday he was off base.”

Ben Crump, one of the attorney’s representing Taylor’s family, said on CNN Thursday morning that his clients are devastated, outraged and heartbroken. He said the family is demanding that Cameron release the transcript of the grand jury proceedings.

“What did they present to that grand jury? That is the question everyone is asking,” Crump said.

Gov. Andy Beshear has also called on Cameron to publicly release evidence from his office’s investigation.

Daily Caller reporters arrested during protests

Geoffrey Ingersoll, the editor-in-chief of a conservative news website, tweeted that Daily Caller reporters Shelby Talcott and Jorge Ventura were detained by Louisville Metro Police and “will be charged with two misdemeanors related to breaking curfew & unlawful assembly for their alleged failure to comply with police orders to disperse and for press to relegate themselves to an ‘observation area.'”

Louisville police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay confirmed to The Courier Journal that Talcott and Ventura were arrested.

Brett Hankison indicted, arrested and released

Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, but the charges relate to firing his weapon into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors, not for shooting the 26-year-old. 

Hankison was arrested and booked at the Shelby County Detention Center at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. His bond was set at $15,000 cash, and he was released at 5:02 p.m. 

Hundreds protested following Breonna Taylor decision

Protests in Louisville started within minutes of the grand jury indictment and continued throughout the night Wednesday. Anger was palpable as the protesters walked through the streets. 

Police department spokesman Lamont Washington said several fires were set downtown and “several locations” were looted in the early morning hours. Fellow spokesman Dwight Mitchell told media members just before 8:30 a.m. that a total of 127 people had been arrested.

Two Louisville police officers were shot during the downtown protests about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the department. They were both in stable condition Wednesday night and police have a suspect in custody.

Larynzo Johnson, 26, was arrested at 8:40 p.m., according to his citation, which stated he would face multiple charges of first-degree assault of a police officer and first-degree wanton endangerment.

Protesters took to the streets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., among other places, following Wednesday’s announcement.

Politicians, celebrities and Taylor’s family react to decision

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden urged protesters to be peaceful and patient as they await the results of an ongoing federal investigation into the Taylor case, while President Donald Trump also tweeted that he was praying for the officers shot Wednesday. 

Breonna Taylor’s family were dismayed by the decision, some said that they’re not surprised and they are “mad as hell.” 

Taylor family attorneys Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker issued a statement calling Wednesday’s grand jury decision “outrageous and offensive to Breonna Taylor’s memory.”

From LeBron James and John Legend to Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi, several celebrities and other public figures spoke out about the decision. 

FBI and internal police investigations are still ongoing 

Six Louisville police officers still are under internal investigations for their roles in the shooting.

The FBI opened its investigation into Taylor’s fatal shooting in May, and on Wednesday the bureau said its investigation remains open. 

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday the FBI is looking at the way LMPD obtained the warrant for Taylor’s apartment.

In June spokesman Tim Beam said the FBI will investigate “all aspects” of Taylor’s death, including interviewing witnesses who have and haven’t already spoken to LMPD. They also are examining all physical and video evidence to better understand what transpired, he said.

The Civil Rights Division can charge individuals under nine Title 18 civil rights statutes, including deprivation of rights under the color of law. Those violations include excessive force, false arrest, obstruction of justice or deprivation of medical care. 

Contributing: Morgan Watkins, Darcy Costello, Tessa Duvall, Emma Austin and Hayes Gardner, Louisville Courier-Journal; Ledyard King and Michael Collins, USA TODAY

Follow reporter Matt Mencarini on Twitter: @MattMencarini

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