Louisville Officers Shot During Unrest Over Jury Decision In The Breonna Taylor Case
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
The city of Louisville is bracing for another night of protests after Kentucky's attorney general said he would not charge three officers in the death of Breonna Taylor. She is the Black woman shot and killed by police in her apartment in March. The decision not to charge the officers involved drove demonstrators into the streets around the country. But it's Louisville that is the center of this story, and that is where NPR's Adrian Florido is now.
Hey there, Adrian.
ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.
KELLY: Hey. Describe to us what you are seeing, what you are hearing as you're out and about reporting on the streets there in Louisville.
FLORIDO: So, so far today, things have been calm. That was not the case last night, however. The streets of downtown Louisville were really tense as police worked to enforce a 9 p.m. curfew and disperse crowds that were furious at Attorney General Daniel Cameron's announcement. Just before curfew, two officers were shot. Their injuries were non-life-threatening, and the suspect was arrested. But this morning, Mayor Greg Fischer pleaded for peace.
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GREG FISCHER: We never had control over what attorney general or the grand jury would do. We do have control over what happens next in our city. So I'm asking everyone to reject violence and join me in committing ourselves to the work of reform for justice and for equity and do that now.
KELLY: And Adrian, how are people out on the streets protesting - how are they hearing that? How are they responding to that plea?
FLORIDO: I think that there is a lot of skepticism that meaningful change that the mayor is calling for, if they participate, will actually happen. You know, people here in Louisville have protested for 120 days, demanding that the three police officers who participated in the raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment be charged with her murder. Instead, what they got was a grand jury and the state attorney general deciding to charge just one of those officers not for Taylor's death, but because the bullets that this officer fired into her apartment entered the apartment next door and endangered the lives of Taylor's neighbors.
This morning, I spoke to a man named Marcus Reed. He runs a barbecue joint near where Taylor was killed. Listen to what he said.
MARCUS REED: And if it was me, I'd probably get 20 years. But you know, since it's police and he's not my skin color, they - just a slap on the wrist. You know, that's why they keep doing it.
FLORIDO: He told me that his friends and family are deeply resentful of the decision not to charge and that he would not be surprised if tensions on the streets actually grow worse after this.
KELLY: Yeah. Well, I was going to ask where might things go because people out protesting - many of them had some pretty specific goals in mind. They weren't just angry. They wanted all of the involved officers to be fired and charged with murder, which, as of yesterday, seems to be off the table. So where do things go now?
FLORIDO: Right. So the local investigation into Taylor's killing is complete. There will be no more charges. The attorney general has said that. But the police department is continuing an internal investigation on whether the officers followed department protocols on the night of the raid. There's also an ongoing federal investigation. The FBI is looking into whether police violated Breonna Taylor's civil rights, and they're looking at how they obtained that warrant to raid Taylor's apartment to look for drugs - drugs that they did not find.
And aside from that, Kentucky's governor, Andy Beshear - he is calling on the attorney general to release the evidence from his investigation against the officers. Here's what the governor said just a little while ago.
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ANDY BESHEAR: I know the attorney general talks about the truth, and I talk about the truth. I think we ought to let the people of Kentucky see all of that, evaluate and come to the truth. I believe that it is fully appropriate to do at this point in time. Put it all online.
FLORIDO: The attorney general has said that he won't do that for now because of the charges brought yesterday against the one former officer and also that pending FBI investigation.
KELLY: So briefly, Adrian, you're watching for more protests there in Louisville tonight.
FLORIDO: There will be more protests. You know, the police say that they're going to continue to enforce the curfew, which is still in effect. Police say that they will do the same thing they did yesterday if they have to. They arrested more than a hundred protesters yesterday. I should also say, Mary Louise, that we're expecting to hear from Breonna Taylor's family tomorrow.
KELLY: All right. NPR's Adrian Florido reporting from Louisville tonight.
FLORIDO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.