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  • Racial justice demonstrators protest over the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, USA. June 05, 2020.

    Racial justice demonstrators protest over the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, USA. June 05, 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/Tannen Maury

Published 23 September 2020
Opinion

Since Wednesday morning, streets in downtown Louisville, Kentucky have been blocked off, police have been put on high alert, and authorities declared a state of emergency anticipating the controversial grand jury announcement.

Despite consistent calls by Breonna Taylor's family, nationwide protesters, and high-profile celebrities to arrest and charge all four police officers involved with Breonna Taylor's murder on March 13, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Wednesday that three of the officers would face no charges. One of them, Brett Hankison, would face three counts of "first-degree wanton endangerment" for the raid that claimed Taylor's life. 

Cameron, a 34-year-old African-American Republican on President Trump's short-list of candidates to replace recently deceased Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, has received heavy criticism for his investigation, which racial justice activists categorically reject. 

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Hankison's charge is not even in response to Taylor's death, but rather due to the bullets that went into other apartments. His cash bond was set at a relatively low figure of $15,000. 

In anticipation of the unpopular announcement, the US district courthouse in Louisville and nearby US Citizen and Immigration field offices was shuttered for the entire week, per orders from a federal judge. The Kentucky National Guard was activated around noon Wednesday, shortly before Cameron's announcement.

The murder of Breonna Taylor—a 26-year-old Black woman murdered by the police in a botched raid on her apartment—has become a rallying call for racial justice, police abolition, and anti-militarism in the United States and abroad in the six months since her death.
 
The night of her death, the police were looking for Taylor's former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who had already been arrested the same evening 10 miles away on suspected drug trafficking charges; instead, they blindly fired into Taylor's apartment, using flawed information to obtain the "no-knock warrant" to enter her home. Cameron's investigation found that a witness testified that officers knocked and announced themselves before entering the apartment, after which Taylor's boyfriend fired on them. The officers' returning fire, Cameron found, was therefore justified.
 
Massive protests in Louisville, Washington, New York, Atlanta, and other major US cities have already commenced in response to the decision, with arrests and violent clashes between police, right-wing militia, and racial justice protesters already reported. Numerous celebrities, politicians, and prominent activists have denounced the investigation on social media, calling for ongoing justice for Taylor, her family, and all victims of police brutality and racist violence in the United States.
 
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