LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Protests over a decision not to indict any of the three Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of black woman Breonna Taylor continued on Thursday for the second consecutive day in Louisville, Kentucky.
Fewer arrests were seen, but there was increasing rage among young black people who consider law enforcement an enemy immune to any act of brutality against them.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of the city, while politicians and leaders demanded transparency and that the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron release the basic investigative information of the case.
The governor of the state, Democrat Andy Beshear, asked that “all the facts, all the interviews, all the evidence, all the ballistics” be published so that the public will understand why they decided not to charge any officer in the death of the young woman.
“I think it’s a sad thing, and I give my regards to the family of Breonna. I also think it’s so sad what’s happening with everything about that case, including law enforcement,” said US President Donald Trump, referring to the death of Taylor and the protests that on Thursday ended with two police officers wounded by gunshots and more than a hundred people arrested.
Since May, when the death of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a wave of protests against police brutality and racism across the country, Trump has avoided seeking conciliation or calling for changes in the way police handle presumption of innocence of blacks and instead has called for “law and order,” which became his electoral campaign mantra.
For the protesters who gathered again on Friday in the center of the city in tribute to Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical worker who died on March 13 at the hands of the police, there is no great hope that the system would change to avoid deaths that seem avoidable and that always end with a dead African American.
The Prosecutor’s Office did not offer details of how it determined that the actions of the three officers involved in Taylor’s death were “justified,” especially when it seems clear that the decision to enter the woman’s home unannounced to carry out a search related to the drug trafficking was based on circumstantial evidence.
The investigative jury did not consider that breaking into the house by force and firing more than thirty shots were some kind of mistakes, although six of those shots ended up hitting Taylor, who was in her bedroom and who was the object of the investigation because her ex-boyfriend was involved in a drug trafficking ring.
Nor do they explain why they considered the fact that Taylor’s boyfriend at the time, Kenneth Walker, who shot at what he considered intruders, is the basis for the non-indictment. No charges were brought against Walker, whose action is considered legitimate by the state’s permissive gun law.
In the end, no drugs or anything illegal were found in Taylor’s home and only one suspect, former agent Brett Hankinson, faces charges, but for mistakenly shooting a neighboring apartment, not Taylor’s.
Faced with protests over injustice repeated too many times, downtown Louisville was filled with police officers, who with the help of the National Guard, armored vehicles and helicopters, imposed a tight control of movements as soon as the curfew was declared at 9:00 pm, which will be held throughout the weekend.
Riot police made several arrests after protesters set off flares and smashed glass in a library.
Among those arrested is state legislator Attica Scott, who has promoted a law for police to stop searching homes without announcing.
The police ended up cordoning off those who broke the curfew at the Unitarian church, where they were offered shelter.
The church grounds were used by protesters to insult and air their hatred against the Louisville Police Department. Some protesters clung to batons and bats, while others tried to calm things down to avoid mass arrests on Wednesday.
Several members of the church tried to channel this hatred and frustration, accumulated in African Americans throughout the country, towards peaceful protest, but finally someone drew a weapon from the crowd and chaos momentarily reigned.
In spite of everything, the night passed much more calmly than the previous one and the around two hundred protesters who were reluctant to stop demanding justice in the street left the protest without causing major material damage.
But for some young African Americans like Tanika, hopelessness is the only thing that remains: “What changes do you think there will be. If the police indictment report for Breonna’s death does not even name it. It seems like the only accusation was made because they shot the wrong target, not because they killed her. Nothing is going to change.”