On Wednesday, there were hours-long march protestors on Louisville’s streets. They were all vowing to continue to call for justice in the Breonna Taylor case. The reason behind the protest is they now learned that only one of the police officers involved in Breonna’s death would be criminally charged. The anger was significantly visible as all the protesters were walking through many residential neighborhoods. Later they clashed with a line of police who arrested some of the participants.
By evening, there was another protest. It erupted since two Louisville police officers shot and are under treatment in downtown. As of early Thursday, around a hundred protesters are arrested in the same protest. Finally, officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries, but one underwent surgery. The other police officer is if in stable condition as per interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder. Annie O’Connell, Jefferson County Judge, announced earlier that a grand jury had indicted Brett Hankison, former Detective on three first-degree wanton endangerments, and it is for firing into Taylor’s neighbored apartment. In the announcement, the grand jury has not charged Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who is also part of the March 13 shooting in Southern Louisville at Taylor apartment.
Pastor Tim Findley said, “The incident was a tragedy, and now this is an embarrassment. It is the same reason there have been long protests from 119 days. The announcement is hurtful, disappointing, and created painful in our city. The announcement is nothing but a slap on the wrist for the police officers and for them killing Nreonna Taylor.”At Jefferson Square Park, there were at least two hundred people gathered. The place serves as a home base local for protests, and the announcement was played through a loudspeaker. When the decision wrapped up, everyone’s hearing was in confusion. Their anger sprouted from people who have gathered, and some were also crying.
A woman in the group asked, “That’s it?” Almost four months of civil unrest took place in Louisville, and protesters were eagerly waiting for justice through the announcement. Earlier protesters have done miles-long marches, arranged pop-up street fairs, and shut down traffic, all done on behalf of Breonna Taylor. She was unarmed when they killed her, and it was part of a narcotics search that went wary. The protests and demonstrations were done to end police brutality and put an end to systemic racism. They should stop touching on interlinking issues and affect Black residents inappropriately, such as gentrification and food security. In all these four months, there was a consistent message from demonstrations and protestors. They all wanted one single thing that police officers involved in shooting Taylor in her apartment should be fired and arrested and criminally charged.
An affordable housing advocate and community organizer, Shemaeka Shaw, said, “All the police officers involved in the shooting of Taylor are still working, and they are getting their pay.” She was talking to The Courier-Journal, and she said, “Taylor’s mother is mourning, and it is a slap on her face. When the mourning mother walks through the city, she will always think that the men who killed her daughter are still working and paid. They remain under Louisville police payroll. “ There were significant mentions on Hankison, Cosgrove, and Mattingly, three police officers by protesters. They stressed on these names since they are the ones who fired weapons at Taylor’s apartment. There took Detective Joshua Jayne’s name since he was the one who swore out the affidavit in the direction to get a search warrant at Taylor’s apartment. There were four other search warrants, along with Taylor’s apartment.
Even though Hankison was fired in June for his central role in Taylor’s shooting, Cosgrove, Mattingly, and Jaynes were not. They all remain on the payroll and under administrative reassignment. One of the protesters, Logan Cleaver, said on Wednesday, “I am seriously heartbroken now. I cannot consider this as justice system if it is not for everybody.” As soon as the announcement is completed, protesters started marching. They began marching from the park, and the protest went toward the edges of downtown. Louisville Metro Police employees planned to restrict the traffic access mainly in a 25-block perimeter surrounding the park in the days leading to the indictment. They arranged the system to allow the protesters to express their First Amendment Rights adequately. But, on the day, the march left the designated area quickly. They started passing through other residential neighborhoods.
Throughout the demonstrations, the emotion was running high, but protests were peaceful. It was significant that protestors expressed frustrations with state and city leaders who are responsible for taking actions in Breonna Taylor’s case sooner. A regular at the protests, Stachelle Bussey, said, “We even knew this possibility, but even now we couldn’t believe it. They are charging people with way less evidence, but even with all the evidence, they just charged one officer for endangerment. They didn’t even charge him for shooting into her apartment but for shooting in other apartments. We are completely in shock, and now the city has failed us completely. We feel our leadership has failed.” Protesters made their way in the direction of Bardstown Road by midafternoon. It is the commercial area which is filled with restaurants and businesses.
Even though few people set fire on trashcans and meantime confronted passersby, others were peaceful. The majority of the protesters encouraged the crowd to avoid vandalism, and they insisted the public remain focused on taking Breonna Taylor’s name. In the end, protesters have met a line of police officers who carried pepper bullet guns along with batons, and they refused to allow the group to pass. Police officers pushed the protesters to the road from the sidewalk, and several of them were forcefully arrested. Police officers cleared the area by putting caution tape into the smaller perimeter. Now, the grand jury decision announced came as a closing chapter for the protesters. But, it cannot stop the demonstrations for recurring charges and Taylor. By Thursday, they marked 120 days of protests in Louisville.
With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.