A new wave of protests and riots swept through the United States on Thursday when thousands of citizens took to the streets to show their outrage at the grand jury’s acquittal verdict on several police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, an African-American medical worker assassinated in March in her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, during a grotesque operation against drug trafficking.
The sole officer charged, Brett Hankinson, who had recently been fired, faces only three counts of “reckless unwarranted danger” in the first degree for endangering a neighbor of a nearby home. The ruling completely acquitted the other two policemen involved in the shooting that killed Taylor and may remain in his body despite the fact that authorities believe that one of them fired the bullet that killed the 26-year-old emergency technician years, whose house was raided due to a confusion with the number of the house when designing the intervention
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron during the sentencing announcement noted that there was no conclusive evidence that Hankison’s shots hit Taylor. Cameron said the other two officers acted in self-defense after the victim’s boyfriend, who had a licensed gun, fired a shot at one of them, mistaking him for an intruder. They will not be prosecuted because the use of force was justified.
Taylor was shot in her own bedroom during an unannounced search warrant executed by non-uniformed police officers during a sting operation against narcotics trafficking. The young sanitary received six shots.
Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump, a member of the Taylor family’s legal team, called the procedure “pointless.” Meanwhile, the relatives of the victim and the civil authorities of Louisville reached a settlement of twelve million dollars this week that ends the civil lawsuit. It also includes an unprecedented list of reforms that the Police Department must implement.
As soon as the news of the acquittal of the agents and the slight charge that falls on the only accused officer was known, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in many cities of the country, holding vigils and demanding social justice.
Some of the demonstrations turned into riots in cities like Portland, Oregon. More than a hundred people were arrested and the Louisville Police also arrested a suspect of shooting two officers, who were slightly injured. Authorities in Atlanta and other cities used chemical agents against the protesters and a car ran over several of those gathered in Denver, causing no injuries.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for calm and urged peaceful protests after prosecutors exonerated police from Breonna Taylor’s death. For her part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, described the judicial decision as “heartbreaking” and affirmed that Justice has been denied to the family of Breonna Taylor. Pelosi argued that Congress must pass a police reform honoring Taylor and “so many others” who have been killed by agents.