Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Simran Uchil 28th September 2020
Rage over the Kentucky grand jury’s decision of the ‘Breonna Taylor case’ has left two police officers injured after being shot during protests in Louisville. As reported in the New York Times, protests erupted after Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove — the officials responsible for the death of Taylor, were not pressed with criminal charges.
The injured officers were transferred to a local hospital and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder, said both the officers are expected to recover, and one was undergoing surgery. The Police Chief also mentioned that the suspected shooter had been taken into custody.
The New York Times reported that the protests began as a revolt against the mistreatment and murder of black people in the United States of America at the hands of police officers. In this case, on 13th March 2020, Breonna Taylor was shot six times in her home by two of the three white police officers who entered her home. Yet, the jury justified the officers in the shooting as an act of self-defence after one of the officers was first shot and injured by Taylor’s boyfriend.
The only charges faced were three counts of wanton endangerment to officer Hankinson for violating department policy and endangering the lives of three people living in an apartment nearby that were subject to the gunshots. Hankinson was also dismissed from the force — his termination letter attributing the reason for his ‘extreme indifference to human life’.
The officers allegedly entered the house unannounced and without knocking, as part of a narcotics investigation. Taylor’s boyfriend shot thinking intruders had entered, causing the officers to open fire. On being searched, the police found no drugs in Taylor’s house. The State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said further investigation showed the officers had announced before entering the house.
This decision sparked feelings of sadness, anger, and grief amongst the people. Protestors expressed their disapproval by marching in different parts of the United States of America, shouting slogans — ‘no justice, no peace’. Ray Sanchez, Elizabeth Joesph and Steve Almasy from CNN reported that the lawyer for Taylor’s family, Ben Crump said the decision not to charge the officers for murder was outrageous and offensive.
A lawsuit against the three officers filed by Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer was recently settled, with the city of Louisville agreeing to pay her a sum of $12 million (₹88,31,86,800) and enact police reforms.
Taylor’s death, along with the murder of George Floyd, recently served as eye-openers to the racism that still exists in the country, especially in the hands of people in power.
(Sources: India Today, New York Times, CNN) Edited by Meghna Venkatesh