Louisville braces for riots after Kentucky AG announces charges for one officer in Breonna Taylor case

Streets in downtown Louisville have been blocked off and police put on high alert as Kentucky authorities announced they are charging an officer involved in the fatal shooting of an African-American woman in her home.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday that former officer Brett Hankison will face three counts of “first degree wanton endangerment” in the death of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, 26, was killed in March during a “no-knock” police raid serving a narcotics warrant. Protests over her shooting escalated into violence after the May death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the ensuing nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. 

Louisville has braced for another riot since Monday, with concrete barriers, fencing and even vehicles brought out to block major roads and intersections. The city’s police department declared a state of emergency on Monday, in anticipation of the announcement. The Kentucky National Guard was activated around noon on Wednesday, shortly before Cameron’s announcement.

The US district courthouse in Louisville and the nearby US Citizenship and Immigration Services field office were shuttered for the week as well, per orders from a federal judge.

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The memorial for Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, September 11, 2020 file photo.
Louisville police declare EMERGENCY ahead of Breonna Taylor announcement

The city has taken a number of steps to address Taylor’s killing since March, banning “no-knock” warrants, firing Hankison for “extreme indifference to the value of human life” and violating department procedures in July, and reaching a $12 million wrongful death settlement with Taylor’s family last week.

None of this seems to have mollified Black Lives Matter groups, however, who have called for arresting all three officers involved in Taylor’s death and charging them with murder. 

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