Warning: this report contains details relating to a shooting that some readers may find upsetting.
The tragic death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old medic who was fatally shot in her home by police, has seen petitions signed by millions and protests attended by thousands in an effort to see action brought against the involved officers. Yesterday, a grand jury delivered the verdict that no charges are to be brought against the Louisville police in relation to the drug raid gone wrong. This has sparked further outrage and protests, during which two officers have been shot.
Prosecutors in Kentucky said that officers who fired at Taylor were justified in "using force" to protect themselves, says a New York Times report – Taylor was asleep when they initially entered her home, believing that her ex-partner, Jamarcus Glover, was using the address to receive parcels. At the time, Taylor's new boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was in bed with her and fired at an officer, believing Taylor's ex had broken into their apartment. Taylor was then shot at six times and died in her hallway.
Only one charge was delivered by the grand jury and it didn't relate directly to Taylor's death – the charge instead saw Brett Hankinson, a detective at the time, dismissed from the force for showing "an extreme indifference to the value of human life" because he fired shots into a sliding glass door, leading him to shoot into the homes of Taylor's neighbours. The other two officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Taylor family's lawyer, Ben Crump, called the grand jury’s decision "outrageous and offensive". After the verdict was delivered, protests in Louisville turned violent and two officers were shot. Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said, according to a BBC report, they did not have life-threatening injuries and a suspect was in custody.
Louisville has now been declared as being in a state of emergency and the National Guard have been deployed to back-up officers on the ground.
Upon hearing the grand jury's verdict, President Donald Trump said, "I thought it was really brilliant." He also congratulated Kentucky's attorney general on "doing a fantastic job", adding "I think he's a star".
It's thought that no drugs were discovered in Taylor's home, although Jefferson County prosecutor Thomas Wine said previously that the search was abandoned following the shootings. The subsequent police report was also found to contain errors, including listing Taylor's injuries as "none" and stating that no force had been used to enter her home, when in fact a battering ram had been deployed.
Our thoughts are with Breonna Taylor's friends and family during this extremely difficult time.
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