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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Louisville on lockdown: Police declare a state of emergency and board up buildings ahead of Kentucky AG's decision on whether officers involved in Breonna Taylor's shooting death will be charged

 Louisville police have declared a state of emergency ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's announcement about whether he will charge officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

Interim Chief of Police Robert Schroeder said the declaration will remain in effect 'until further notice' in a memo to the entire Louisville Metro Police Department on Monday.  

City staff set to work putting up barricades in downtown Louisville and boarding up police buildings and courthouses in anticipation for protests that may erupt in the wake of Cameron's decision.  

In a statement released publicly after Schroeder's internal memo, Sgt Lamont Washington said officers' off-day and vacation requests have been cancelled.  

Washington noted that Cameron has said there is no timetable for his announcement, but the extensive police department preparations suggest that it is coming soon.  

Louisville police have declared a state of emergency ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's announcement about whether he will charge officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor (pictured)

Louisville police have declared a state of emergency ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's announcement about whether he will charge officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor (pictured)

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (pictured) has said he will announce his decision about whether to charge the officers who shot dead Breonna Taylor 'soon'

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (pictured) has said he will announce his decision about whether to charge the officers who shot dead Breonna Taylor 'soon'

Brett Hankison
Myles Cosgrove
John Mattingly

The officers that could face charges are Brett Hankison (left), Myles Cosgrove (center) and John Mattingly (right). Hankison was fired from the LMPD while the other two officers remain on the force on administrative assignment 

City staff set to work putting up barricades in downtown Louisville and boarding up police buildings and courthouses on Monday in anticipation for protests that may erupt in the wake of Cameron's decision

City staff set to work putting up barricades in downtown Louisville and boarding up police buildings and courthouses on Monday in anticipation for protests that may erupt in the wake of Cameron's decision

Protesters and police argue over the placement of fencing near Jefferson Square Park - the epicenter for Louisville protest action following Taylor's killing

Protesters and police argue over the placement of fencing near Jefferson Square Park - the epicenter for Louisville protest action following Taylor's killing

It's been over six months since 26-year-old Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 by officers who stormed into her home with a no-knock narcotics warrant. 

The EMT's death set off weeks of protests, policy changes and a call for the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers who performed the raid to be criminally charged. 

One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was fired for 'blindly' firing 10 shots into Taylor's apartment from outside. 

The other two, John Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, remain on the force on administrative assignment. 

On Monday the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that an internal LMPD probe is looking into whether six officers involved in Taylor's death violated department policies. 

The investigation led by the department's Professional Standards Unit is separate from the probe by its Public Integrity Unit. The findings of the PIU probe were already forwarded to Cameron's office.   

The targets of the PSU investigation include Cosgrove and Mattingly, as well as three detectives who were present on the night Taylor was killed - Tony James, Michael Campbell and Michael Nobles. 

The sixth target is detective Joshua Jaynes, who was not present on that night but swore out an affidavit to get the warrant used in the deadly raid.  

Interim Chief of Police Robert Schroeder said the emergency declaration will remain in effect 'until further notice' in a memo to the entire Louisville Metro Police Department on Monday

Interim Chief of Police Robert Schroeder said the emergency declaration will remain in effect 'until further notice' in a memo to the entire Louisville Metro Police Department on Monday

The windows of the Romano L Mazzoli Federal Building are seen covered with plywood after it was identified as a 'high risk' target for protests

The windows of the Romano L Mazzoli Federal Building are seen covered with plywood after it was identified as a 'high risk' target for protests 

City workers erect a fence outside Jefferson Square Park on Monday

City workers erect a fence outside Jefferson Square Park on Monday 

Last week officials announced that four federal buildings identified by the Department of Homeland Security as 'high risk' targets would be closed from September 21 to 25 in anticipation of protests following Cameron's announcement. 

Those buildings include Louisville's federal Gene Snyder US Courthouse & Customhouse, the Romano L Mazzoli Federal Building, the US Attorney's Office building and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement building.

The General Services Administration has already begun taking proactive steps to protect the buildings, general facilities manager Tom Moore said.


Also last week, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor's family a record-breaking $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit that her mother Tamika Palmer filed against the city and its police department back in April.  

At a September 15 press conference announcing the settlement, Palmer repeated her plea for charges to be brought against the officers involved in her daughter's death. 

'As significant as today is, it is only the beginning,' Palmer said. 'We must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it's time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more.' 

In addition to the $12million, the settlement will also include a series of police reforms for Louisville. 

Among the reforms is a requirement that police commanders must approve all search warrants before they are sent to a judge. 

Last week, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor's family a record-breaking $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit that her mother Tamika Palmer (pictured) filed against the city and its police department back in April

Last week, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor's family a record-breaking $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit that her mother Tamika Palmer (pictured) filed against the city and its police department back in April 

At a September 15 press conference announcing the settlement, Palmer repeated her plea for charges to be brought against the officers involved in her daughter's death

 At a September 15 press conference announcing the settlement, Palmer repeated her plea for charges to be brought against the officers involved in her daughter's death

Breonna Taylor's mother calls for criminal charges against police
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Mayor Greg Fischer stated that the settlement had nothing to do with Cameron's criminal investigation and said the city would be enacting reforms regardless of the outcome.  

'I'm deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna's death,' Fischer said. 'My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.' 

As part of the settlement, the mayor said Louisville police officers will be offered housing credits to move to some of the poorest parts of the city in the hopes of improving community ties. 

They will also be encouraged to regularly volunteer for community organizations and will face increased random testing for drug use.  

Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor's family, noted that the settlement was not only the largest ever paid by the city of Louisville, but also the largest ever for a black woman killed by police.  

'We won't let Breonna Taylor's life be swept under the rug,' Crump said. 

The attorney also called for charges against the officers and urged people to 'say her name' - a phrase that has become a refrain for those outraged by the shooting.  

At least 10 bullets went into Taylor's apartment through a sliding glass door located in the living room and also through a bedroom window

At least 10 bullets went into Taylor's apartment through a sliding glass door located in the living room and also through a bedroom window

Bullet holes and blood smeared on the walls could be seen in one evidence photo taken inside the apartment in the hours after Taylor was gunned down

Bullet holes and blood smeared on the walls could be seen in one evidence photo taken inside the apartment in the hours after Taylor was gunned down

The lawsuit filed by Taylor's mother alleged that police used flawed information when they obtained the no-knock warrant to enter her apartment. 

Police descended on her apartment after securing a court-approved warrant as part of a drug investigation involving her ex-boyfriend that allowed officers to enter her home without any warning. 

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had been sleeping in bed when the officers served the warrant at around 1am.

Walker fired his gun when officers stormed into the apartment and has since said he thought he was defending against a home invasion.  

At the time, Walker told police that he could hear knocking on the night of the shooting but did not hear police announce themselves.  

Walker said he was 'scared to death' so he grabbed his gun and when the door was knocked down, he fired a shot that ended up striking an officer in the leg.    

Investigators said police were returning fire when they shot Taylor eight times. 

No drugs were found at her home.  

The city has already taken some reform measures, including passing a law named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.

Fischer fired former police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief. Gentry would be the first Black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers. 

The department has also fired Officer Hankison, who is appealing the dismissal.  

Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker (pictured together) were sleeping in bed when the officers served the warrant at around 1am on March 13

Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker (pictured together) were sleeping in bed when the officers served the warrant at around 1am on March 13

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