One officer involved in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor will face criminal charges and two will not, a grand jury announced on Wednesday.
Former Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for shooting into her neighbor's apartment. Neither Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly or Detective Myles Cosgrove will face charges.
Activists and community leaders in Louisville told Insider they are disappointed and heartbroken by the results of the indictment.
The grand jury's decision to indict only one of the officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor set off a wave of disappointment among community leaders in Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday.
The announcement came months after Taylor was shot six times in her own Louisville home during a botched drug raid, killing her.
Brett Hankinson was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. The other two officers involved were not charged by the grand jury, and no officers were charged for killing Taylor.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing Taylor's family, dismissed the decision on Twitter as "outrageous and offensive."
"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," Crump wrote. "In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!"
Stachelle Bussey, a community activist and founder of the Justice and Freedom Coalition, told Insider that the charge came as a surprise to the group, and "disappointed" advocates who have eagerly pushed for officials to respond in Taylor's case.
"This is something we didn't expect, we expected the justice system to do its job," Bussey said. "We are very disappointed in the charges, and we are disappointed that an apartment building is more important than a Black woman's life."
"The fight is just the beginning but this told us what we already know: Black lives do not matter," Bussey added.
Linda Sarsour of Until Freedom on Twitter called for advocates across the country to "rise up" in response to the decision.
"Justice has NOT been served," Sarsour wrote. "Rise UP. All across this country. Everywhere. Rise up for #BreonnaTaylor."
After months of protests, activists flooded the streets to push back against the grand jury's decision
—Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) September 23, 2020
Bussey said after the decision was announced, the environment in downtown Louisville was "extremely" emotional, as bystanders appeared shocked and saddened.
Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of Louisville Urban League, told Insider that shortly after protests broke out in response to the decision, she witnessed protesters being arrested by police on Bardstown Road for an "unlawful assembly."
"My question to my city, to my mayor, to my police department that I pay taxes for is why," Reynolds said. "Why can't we allow people to walk down the street and express their anger? They're not destroying property, they're not setting fires, they are simply walking and chanting."
Local journalists reported that tear gas could be used if demonstrators did not leave the area.
"It is an unfortunate response that a city in this country would respond with such force when the only demand is justice," she said. "That just shows you how little they are actually interested in justice," Reynolds added.
Protests ramped up in Louisville throughout the summer as demonstrators demanded Kentucky officials to charge the officers involved in Taylor's death. In July, dozens of protesters were charged after rallying on the Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron's front yard.
The possible reactions to the highly anticipated decision raised concerns among local authorities. Last week, Louisville officials were ordered to close four federal buildings including the Gene Snyder US Courthouse and Custom House between September 21-25. On Monday, the Louisville Police issued a state of emergency to "ensure we have the appropriate level of staffing to provide for public safety services and our policing functions," according to the Louisville-Courier Journal.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a second state of emergency on Tuesday to bolster preparation efforts.
Ahead of the decision on Wednesday, the interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder told reporters that officers from the state police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the National Guard were present to assist in monitoring protests after the decision.
Reynolds said that she feels "frustrated" and "disappointed" about the indictment.
"I feel pain. I am tortured. I feel sorry for people who are in the streets. I'm sorry about their disappointment. Again," she said. "Again ... disappointed by this city, and this state, and this country. It's heartbreaking."
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