A Louisville grand jury has indicted one of the three officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighboring apartment.
But the grand jury did not indict any of the officers for shooting Taylor, the 26-year-old who was killed during a raid on her home on March 13.
The officer who was indicted is former Det. Brett Hankison. The two other officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted.
The officers were serving a warrant in a narcotics case. The Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, said that the investigation showed that the officers announced their presence before entering the apartment. He said a civilian witness had confirmed the officers’ account.
Cameron said Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on the officers when they burst in, and that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in returning fire. Taylor was hit six times while she slept.
“This is a tragedy,” Cameron said. “Sometimes the criminal law is not adequate to respond to a tragedy.”
The FBI is still investigating whether there was a violation of federal law.
Benjamin Crump, the Taylor family attorney, blasted the decision.
“This is outrageous and offensive!” Crump wrote on Twitter. “If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!”
Wanton endangerment is a class D felony, carrying a penalty of one to five years in prison, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Earlier Wednesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer set a three-night curfew in anticipation of civil unrest. The curfew begins at 9 p.m. and lasts through 6:30 a.m. Fischer encouraged protesters to keep their demonstrations to daylight hours.
At a news conference, Cameron warned against “mob justice.”
“There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who having never lived in Kentucky will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do. But they don’t,” Cameron said. “Let’s not give in to their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions.”
George Clooney, a Kentucky native, cited Cameron’s statement in his response to the decision.
“I was born and raised in Kentucky,” the actor wrote. “Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month. The justice system I was raised to believe in holds people responsible for their actions. Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death in her bed by 3 white police officers, who will not be charged with any crime for her death. I know the community. I know the commonwealth. And I was taught in the schools and churches of Kentucky what is right and what is wrong. I’m ashamed of this decision.”
Several Hollywood figures also responded on Twitter. Director Matthew A. Cherry said that Taylor’s family “deserved justice today.”
They never get it right and that doesn't make it hurt any less. Breonna Taylor should still be with us and her family deserved justice today. Tired of this shit.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) September 23, 2020
Kerry Washington, the star of Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” noted that Cameron is on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 23, 2020
What we saw today was not justice. May Breonna Taylor's spirit rest in power as we all continue the fight 💙 #justiceforbreonnataylor
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) September 23, 2020
No charges for #BreonnaTaylor’s murderers = no justice, no equality, no advancement in the state of the way this country takes #BlackLives with impunity. If her life didn’t matter enough to hold those who took it accountable, then whose??? When???
— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) September 23, 2020
The city had previously reached a record-setting $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family.