Two US police officers shot during protests over Breonna Taylor killing

24 September 2020, 06:42 | Updated: 24 September 2020, 06:49

Officers at the scene were a police officer was shot
Officers at the scene were a police officer was shot. Picture: AP

By Asher McShane

Two police officers were shot as protests against the death of black woman Breonna Taylor reignited in Kentucky and across the US.

Both officers as expected to recover, and a suspect is in custody after the shootings which were sparked by a grand jury's decision to indict one Louisville police officer over the fatal shooting of Ms Taylor on a charge of wanton endangerment.

The Kentucky grand jury indicted a single police officer for shooting into neighbouring apartments, but did not move forward with charges against any officers for their role in Ms Taylor's death.

Protests broke out in cities across the US
Protests broke out in cities across the US. Picture: AP

Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13.

It sparked demonstrations in downtown Louisville, where National Guard members and armoured military vehicles were deployed, while police in riot gear fired flash bangs and formed a line at Jefferson Square, which has been at the centre of protests.

Protests quickly erupted in cities across the US. Demonstrators marched in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington.

Protesters in Louisville, Kentucky
Protesters in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture: AP

"It's a volcano built up and now it's exploded," said Dekevion Gause, who sat beside a Louisville park memorial to Taylor made of flowers, paintings and tiny grave markers representing Black people killed by police.

Ms Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation.

The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville's Metro Council.

Mr Cameron's office had been receiving materials from the Louisville Police Department's public integrity unit while they tried to determine whether state charges would be brought against the three officers involved, he said.

Before charges were brought, Mr Hankison was fired from the city's police department on June 23.

A termination letter sent to him by interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the white officer had violated procedures by showing "extreme indifference to the value of human life" when he "wantonly and blindly" shot 10 rounds of gunfire into Ms Taylor's apartment in March.

Mr Hankison, Sergeant Johnathan Mattingly, Officer Myles Cosgrove and the detective who sought the warrant, Joshua Jaynes, were placed on administrative reassignment after the shooting.

Ms Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire when police burst in, hitting Mr Mattingly. Mr Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but prosecutors later dropped the charge.

Mr Walker told police he heard knocking but did not know who was coming into the home and fired in self-defence.

On September 15, the city settled a lawsuit against the three officers brought by Ms Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, agreeing to pay her 12 million US dollars and enact police reforms.

Protesters in Louisville and across the country have demanded justice for Ms Taylor and other black people killed by police in recent months.