(TMU) – At least two police officers have been shot in Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday as anger mounts after no officers were charged with offenses directly linked to the March 13 killing of Breonna Taylor.
Initial reports from WDRB said that an officer was shot at the intersection of Brook and Broadway in downtown Louisville just before 8 p.m. Wednesday. The news was later confirmed by LMPD Spokesperson Lamont Washington in an email.
“JUST IN — MetroSafe confirms a police officer was just shot at Brook and Broadway. #Louisville,” Fallon Glick, of WDRB-TV, said in a tweet.
A subsequent report came that at least two officers had been shot, according to local reports.
Further details remain unknown about the circumstances of the shooting, as well as the condition of the officers, and police have yet to make a formal statement regarding the incident.
It remains unclear if the shootings were directly tied to the protests.
OFFICER SHOT: Per MetroSafe, one LMPD Officer has been shot at Brook & Broadway. This is a look outside U of L hospital right now, the ER entrance off Chestnut & Hancock. @WDRBNews #Louisville pic.twitter.com/LFCMr5624O
— Katrina Helmer (@KatrinaWDRB) September 24, 2020
On Wednesday evening, police in riot gear, National Guard troops and armored military vehicles concentrated in the center of the Kentucky city as protesters responded with grief and anger to grand jury decision not to charge police officers for the killing of Taylor.
The Courier Journal reports that a photographer said he saw “a line of officers move toward a gas station with rifles up. Shortly after, they had somebody pinned to the ground and cuffed.” It is still unclear if the arrest was tied to the shooting of the officers.
Another video posted by user “FJ News Reporter” alleged that “Louisville Rioters” had shot live rounds at police.
BREAKING VIDEO – Louisville Rioters shoot live rounds at police, injuring at least 1 so far pic.twitter.com/b9ju1jFzaS
— FJ News Reporter (@FJNewsReporter) September 24, 2020
The shots apparently came after police had deployed chemical agents against community protesters, according to at least one tweet.
“Sh*t, they’re shooting real guns,” someone can be heard shouting in the video. “They’re blasting at the police!”
The reports of violence come after authorities announced earlier in the day that the officers involved in the killing of Taylor – namely Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove – would not face criminal charges, enraging advocates and critics of police violence who have described Taylor’s death as the result of “murder.”
Former officer Brett Hankison was criminally charged with three counts of “wanton enforcement in the first degree” for his actions during the botched raid, primarily for blindly firing 10 shots into her apartment. However, none of the charges are directly related to the killing of Taylor.
Instead, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that the grand jury charged the former detective because the shots passed through her apartment walls into a neighboring apartment, endangering the lives of her three neighbors present at the time.
On the night of March 13, the undercover officers obtained a no-knock search warrant intended to find illicit drugs.
Louisville Metro Police deployed a battering ram to force their way into the apartment before Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker fired a warning shot that struck an officer. Police responded with 35 rounds, including 10 rounds fired “blindly” by an officer.
Walker maintains that the officers failed to identify themselves, but police claim that they knocked first.
Police also claimed in their initial report that Taylor was not injured by their bullets, which later turned out to be an obvious lie.
Taylor had been studying to be a nurse and worked at two local hospitals as an EMT during the ongoing pandemic before her killer’s bullets tragically cut her life short.
The crime of “wanton endangerment” is a Class D felony in Kentucky, meaning it can carry a sentence of only one to five years in prison and a fine on conviction for each count. Hankinson’s bail was only set for $15,000.
The lenient charge has reignited anger and unrest in cities across the U.S. on Wednesday.
Throughout Wednesday night, protesters marched through the streets of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia and other cities.
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