LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The news of the grand jury’s decision in the Breonna Taylor case spread quickly Wednesday as demonstrators took to the streets of Louisville, protesting her killing and the limited charges brought against only one of the officers involved.
Protesters quickly filled downtown neighborhoods after former Louisville police Detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment connected with the shooting that ended in Taylor’s killing.
Hours before the city’s 9 p.m. curfew, police declared an unlawful assembly and clashed with demonstrators, pushing and shoving some and placing others in plastic handcuffs.
Tense moments played out as demonstrators and officers stood off near Jefferson Square Park. Police surrounded marchers and appeared to block them in. Water bottles were thrown at officers and law enforcement vehicles.
The office of Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement that an undisclosed number of National Guard units has been deployed to Louisville to “ensure that everybody can be safe during this period and that critical infrastructure, like our hospitals, are protected.”
State police and law enforcement in SWAT gear were seen standing by near demonstrators.
Earlier in the day, Judge Annie O’Connell announced that Hankison was charged for firing shots that ended up in the apartments next to Taylor’s apartment.
No charges were announced against Louisville police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly or Detective Myles Cosgrove for their roles in Taylor’s death. And no murder or manslaughter charges were handed up against any of the three officers.
Fighting back tears, Louisville resident LaShawn Roberts said that the grand jury’s decision had hurt many people across Louisville and beyond.
“We’ve come so far, but we have so far to go,” Roberts said. “It makes me feel like we don’t mean s—.”
Protesters on foot and bikes descended on Jefferson Square Park, which has been dubbed “Breonna’s Park” since Taylor’s death.