Demonstrators and activists in Louisville, Kentucky, have promised to continue their fight for justice after a grand jury decided not to indict any of the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, on murder charges.
Chanting, “Say her name” and “No justice, no peace”, hundreds of protesters on Wednesday took to the streets of Louisville, where a state of emergency was declared ahead of the grand jury announcement.
While the panel brought no charges for Taylor’s killing, it did indict former officer Brett Hankison on three counts of “wanton endangerment”, accusing him of blindly firing into her neighbours’ apartments. Each count carries a jail term of up to five years.
Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove, who also fired their weapons, were not charged.
Protesters and the lawyers for Taylor’s family said the charges were not enough.
“Make no mistake, we will keep fighting this fight in Breonna’s memory, and we will never stop saying her name,” the lawyers said in a statement.
Prior to the grand jury decision, much of the city’s downtown was placed in a virtual lockdown, with police erecting barricades and blocking the streets to traffic. Some protesters instead marched down a prominent Louisville street in an area that was not cordoned off. Police quickly declared an “unlawful assembly”, saying some demonstrators had damaged nearby businesses.
As police helicopters buzzed low overhead, officers dressed in riot gear stopped the marchers by using chemical irritants and wrestling some people to the ground.