The system failed Breonna Taylor, her mother Tamika Palmer lamented on Instagram yesterday. She posted just hours after a Kentucky grand jury ruled that only one of the three officers involved in her 26-year-old daughter’s killing would be charged (for wanton endangerment, not for her murder), and as crowds protesting the decision in Louisville, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City, and other cities across the United States swelled.
Hundreds marched in Louisville just after the 1:15 p.m. announcement: Only Brett Hankison, one of the three officers involved and who was fired in June, will be charged. He is accused not of killing Breonna Taylor but, instead, “endangering lives in a neighboring unit” by firing “wantonly and blindly” 10 times. Technically speaking, Hankison’s charges are “three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.” He was arrested and booked at the Shelby County Detention Center within hours of the grand jury’s announcement.
Overnight, at least 127 people were arrested in Louisville alone, including a pair of reporters for the conservative news site Daily Caller. Forty-five people were still in police custody this morning. Two officers were wounded by gunfire sometime during the evening; neither is in critical condition.
The ruling follows more than six months of protests and petitions pleading for justice for Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in her own apartment during a botched raid in March, and during which her partner was arrested for firing back. (He has since been cleared of charges.)
Advocates for Taylor, who worked as an EMT and was studying medicine, are now demanding the impeachment of Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher, in addition to major policy reforms.
One of the latter is the BREATHE Act, intended for review by Congress: It’s “a modern-day Civil Rights Act” that would “divest federal resources from incarceration and policing” and invest instead in alternative approaches to safety for “healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities.