Louisville braces for announcement in Breonna Taylor case

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Officials in Louisville say they’re implementing safety measures as the city braces for an announcement from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron in the Breonna Taylor case, though a timeline remains unclear. Cameron, who has been investigating the Louisville police officers who shot and killed the emergency medical worker in her home during a March 13 raid, has declined to say when a possible charging decision could be announced.

The Community awaits the grand jury finding in the Breonna Taylor shooting
Federal Protective Service Police officers patrol outside of the U.S. Courthouse as the community awaits the findings of the grand jury in the case of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot dead in her apartment by police, in Louisville, Kentucky, September 21, 2020.

BRYAN WOOLSTON / REUTERS


The death of the 26-year-old Black woman is among several police killings that have galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement and a nationwide push for police reform and racial justice. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, interim Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said the department is blocking off vehicular access to a section of downtown Louisville around Jefferson Square Park, where protesters have rallied for months to demand that the officers involved in Taylor’s death be charged. 

Schroeder said the measures were intended to protect the public and to facilitate protests, citing “many unknowns both to the police and public as to what will transpire.” Schroeder said the department, like the rest of the community, has heard “rumors” that a decision is expected soon, but has no further information about a timeline for an announcement. 

The Community awaits the grand jury finding in the Breonna Taylor shooting
Police block downtown streets as Louisville braces for a charging decision against the officers who killed Breonna Taylor in March.

Bryan Woolston/Reuters


“There’s been rumors swirling around, and just like the public, we are anticipating something will happen,” Schroeder said. “We felt like these steps were necessary to protect the public.”

Schroeder said Cameron’s office has said they will try “to the best of their ability” to offer the department advance notice.  

Monday night, Schroeder announced a state of emergency for the department that cancels days off and vacation requests for police staff that weren’t previously approved to ensure adequate staffing.

Barriers were erected to block off vehicle traffic to the area immediately surrounding Jefferson Square Park, and vehicle traffic was limited in surrounding areas of downtown Louisville. Motorists with “legitimate business” in the downtown area were being asked to flag down an officer at designated entryways, and parking was also being limited.

Schroeder said the measures are “by no means intended to be a lockdown of the downtown area” and said pedestrians could still access the area freely.

 “I hope that all of this is simply not needed and that it will be a peaceful situation, and we’ll all be talking in a week, going, ‘Wow, that was something we didn’t need to do,” Schroeder said. “But on the front side of it where we don’t know what’s going to happen, we have to plan as best we can to protect the public.”

The federal courthouse in Louisville was also ordered closed for the week, reported CBS affiliate WLKY, and the ground-level windows were boarded up.

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Breonna Taylor

Last week, the city announced a $12 million settlement for Taylor’s family along with a series of police reforms, but Taylor’s family made it clear that full justice would mean charging the officers criminally. Two of the officers who opened fire, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have been placed on leave, and the third, Brett Hankison, has been fired. 

Last week, Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer made an impassioned plea to Cameron on Instagram, saying “it’s crunch time and we’re putting our faith and trust in you.”

“Do you have the power and courage to call my child yours, the power to see that my cry and my community’s cry is heard, and the power as part of a village who raises our children to do right by one of our daughters?!” the post read.

On Tuesday, Palmer posted again on Instagram: “Dear Breonna, Justice is coming.”



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