As people protested the lack of murder charges for the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor, two officers were shot in downtown Louisville late Wednesday, the Louisville Metro Police Department said.
Robert Schroeder, the interim chief of LMPD, told reporters that the officers had been shot at about 8:30 p.m. near 1st Street and Broadway, where a large crowd had gathered. The officers, who have not been identified, were investigating reports of gunshots in the area, Schroeder said.
Both officers are in the hospital undergoing treatment. The interim chief described one officer as being alert and in stable condition. The other officer was in surgery but also in stable condition, he added.
“I am very concerned about the safety of our officers,” Schroeder said late Wednesday. “Obviously, we’ve had two officers shot tonight, and that is very serious. It’s a very dangerous condition.”
The local FBI SWAT team said it was assisting in the investigation of the shootings. Schroeder said a suspect was in custody, but he did not elaborate.
Earlier Wednesday, people in Louisville, Kentucky, cried out upon hearing there would be no murder charges for the police officers who shot Breonna Taylor — and then they marched. Later, protesters took to the streets in other cities, including Washington, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta.
On Wednesday afternoon, a Kentucky judge read out the charges in the Taylor case: Det. Brett Hankison, one of three officers involved, was charged with “wanton endangerment” — notably, for shots fired into neighboring apartments, not Taylor’s. None of the three was charged with murder.
As people who were gathered in Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park heard the announcement, some cried out “what the hell” and one woman burst into tears, saying, “They murdered her.” Dozens began marching in the downtown streets, with the crowd soon growing to hundreds. Some chanted: “If we didn’t get it, burn it down.”
Within hours of demonstrations starting in Louisville, police began arresting protesters. Video from reporters on the scene showed police hitting protesters with batons, tackling and detaining them. Police also appeared to be firing munitions at protesters, which one reporter at the scene described as “pepper balls.”
In March, Louisville police executed a warrant at the apartment of 26-year-old Taylor, who was Black, where she and her boyfriend were asleep. The warrant was for a narcotics investigation not involving Taylor or her boyfriend. Three officers, who were white, fired more than 20 gunshots, several of which hit Taylor, killing her. Her boyfriend, who said he didn’t hear police announce their presence before breaking into the apartment, shot one of the officers once in the leg.
On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron spoke about the indictment, saying the other two officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were “justified in their use of force.”
Taylor’s family attorney Ben Crump called the lack of charges “outrageous and offensive,” adding that Hankison’s charge “should have been ruled wanton murder.”
“It’s yet another example of no accountability for the genocide of persons of color by white police officers,” he said in a statement.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, condemned the act of violence against the two officers late Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Biden said both he and his family mourned with Taylor’s “mother, family and community and ask ourselves whether justice could be equally applied in America.”
“Even amidst the profound grief & anger today’s decision generated, violence is never & can never be the answer,” he wrote on Twitter. “Those who engage in it must be held accountable. Jill & I are keeping the officers shot tonight in Louisville in our prayers. We wish them both a swift & full recovery.”
Two of the officers, Mattingly and Cosgrove, were placed on paid administrative leave, and Hankison was fired more than three months after the killing, following widespread protests.
On Tuesday, Louisville’s mayor declared a state of emergency and blocked off part of downtown, and on Wednesday set a curfew and called in the National Guard in anticipation of the announcement and public unrest.
After another Black person, George Floyd, was killed by police in Minneapolis in May, protests spread nationwide against racism and police violence. Many activists swiftly called for renewed attention on Taylor’s death, noting Black women often don’t get the same level of public outrage as men. People have been protesting in Louisville for months calling for justice for Taylor, including murder charges for the officers involved.
Dominique Mosbergen contributed reporting.