CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Protesters are gathering in Downtown Cincinnati Wednesday evening, hours after a Kentucky grand jury announced no charges specifically arising from the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro police earlier this year.
One officer, Det. Brett Hankinson, faces three counts of wanton endangerment for firing 10 rounds into neighboring apartments during the shootout that resulted after police executed a raid at Taylor’s residence. The shooting began after Taylor’s boyfriend fired a round that hit one of the officers, Sgt. Jon Mattingly, who has since recovered.
Cameron said Hankinson and the other officers, Sgt. Jon Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were immune from criminal liability because they were justified in defending themselves. He also clarified his investigation found police did knock and announce themselves. Earlier reports claimed the raid arose from a ‘no-knock’ warrant.
Hankinson was booked into the Shelby County Detention Center and released around 5 p.m., according to FOX19 NOW’s sister station in Louisville, WAVE 3 News. His attorney told FOX19 NOW that Hankinson will plead not guilty when he is arraigned. His bond was set at $15,000.
Mattingly’s attorney issued a statement Wednesday that reads in part: “The death of Breonna Taylor is a tragedy, but these officers did not act in a reckless or unprofessional manner. They did their duty, performed their roles as law enforcement officers and, above all, did not break the law.”
Ben Crump, attorney for the Taylor family, did not agree:
The protesters in Downtown Cincinnati don’t agree either. Some told FOX19 NOW they are filled with frustration and that this was not the outcome they were expecting.
“I feel like it’s a disgrace because that just proves that cops can get away with whatever they want to get away with,” said Darius Clay.
Rickell Howard Smith is executive director for the Center of Social Justice at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati.
“I’m frustrated that time after time, yet again, we have a similar outcome where police officers are not held accountable for taking Black lives,” she said. “We are feeling like the criminal justice system does not serve Black communities as it should, but at the same time, the criminal justice system incarcerates Black and Brown men, women and children far more than any other demographic.”
Others, like Chazidy Bowman, are optimistic change is coming.
“This is just a stepping stone to get it,” Bowman said. “It’s just sad that she had to die. (...) So this is just the beginning. We’re not going to stop fighting. We’re going to continue to band together because this is unifying our country, even though it looks like it’s very divided. This is unifying this country, and we’re going to see some change.”
Around 6 p.m. the protesters began to gather outside the Hamilton County Courthouse. They stayed there for a few hours before marching with signs while chanting the familiar chants of early summer: “Black Lives Matter!” and “No justice, no peace!”
The march took the protesters up Main Street to Liberty Street. They returned by Vine Street, on the way urging diners and bargoers to join them: “Out of the bars, into the streets!" the chant went.
“We are a peaceful organization,” Murray Burnam with Black Lives Matter said. “We are about peace and bringing equality.”
Burnam continued: “This is our way of lifting our voices and saying, ‘I’m not going to tolerate this behavior.'"