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Police ‘did knock and announce’: Kentucky attorney general says shooting that killed Breonna Taylor was ‘justified’

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Breonna Taylor, shown at a graduation ceremony, was shot dead by police on March 13 (AFP)

A Louisville police officer was charged Wednesday with three counts of “wanton endangerment” in connection with the shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman whose name has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Judge Annie O’Connell announced the charges brought by a grand jury against Detective Brett Hankison, one of three police officers involved in the fatal shooting in March.

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No charges were filed against the other two officers and the grand jury findings immediately sparked street protests in Louisville, the scene of weeks of anti-racism demonstrations.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Taylor family, condemned the grand jury decision.

“3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor,” Crump said on Twitter. “This is outrageous and offensive!”

The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the grand jury charges as “not accountability and not close to justice.”

“This is the manifestation of what the millions of people who have taken to the streets to protest police violence already know: Modern policing and our criminal legal system are rotten to the core,” the ACLU said.

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Hankison, who has been fired from the police department, was not charged for shooting Taylor but for shots that he fired into adjoining apartments, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.

“I know that not everyone will be satisfied with the charges reported today,” Cameron said. “Every person has an idea of what they think justice is.”

Taylor, an emergency room technician, was shot dead in her apartment when three plainclothes police officers turned up at her door to execute a search warrant.

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Cameron said reports that the officers had executed a “no knock” search warrant were incorrect and they had announced their presence.

“They did knock and announce,” he said. “That information was corroborated by another witness.”

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Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in bed with her, grabbed a gun and exchanged fire with the officers. He later said he thought they were criminals.

The officers, who had not activated their body cameras as required, shot Taylor multiple times, killing her. A police sergeant was wounded.

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Cameron said Hankison had not fired the fatal shoots and the two other officers who opened fire had done so in self-defense.

He said Hankison could face five years in prison for each count of “wanton endangerment” if convicted.

The city of Louisville settled a wrongful death suit with Taylor’s family for $12 million last week.

A state of emergency has been declared by the mayor of the city, which has a population of 600,000, with much of downtown closed to traffic.

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Some downtown business owners boarded up their shops in anticipation of unrest sparked by the grand jury decision.

Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said the authorities would not tolerate any “violence or destruction of property.”

“We are prepared to meet any challenge we may face,” Schroeder said, calling for demonstrators to protest “peacefully and lawfully.”

The civil settlement with Taylor’s family reflected the public pressure and emotion surrounding her death, which came about two months before that of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

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Floyd’s death triggered protests across the US against racial injustice and police brutality.


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2020 Election

Arizona Republican likens Trump’s loss to Japan getting nuked while losing WW II — but as a good thing

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President Donald Trump on Monday allowed President-elect Joe Biden's transition to proceed -- while vowing he would never concede.

Despite Trump losing the election, some Trump supporters are refusing to accept the outcome.

One Arizona Republican in Congress, Paul Gosar, drew upon the historical knowledge him learned on his way to becoming a dentist in a bizarre analogy he posted on Twitter.

Gosar suggested the Trump movement would be like an Imperial Japanese soldier in World War II who refused to surrender until 1974.

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2020 Election

Neal Katyal predicts law schools will teach a ‘Worst Mistakes in Court’ class on Trump’s ‘pathetic’ 20-day fiasco

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Prominent lawyer Neal Katyal is best known for having tried over 40 cases before the United States Supreme Court and serving as acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration.

But he also has spent more than two decades as a law professor at Georgetown.

He drew upon all of that experience for a Monday evening appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

"Someday a law school class is going to be called 'The Worst Mistakes in Court' -- and it will be just about these 20 days," Katyal predicted. "Because this legal strategy is so pathetic it makes Trump's coronavirus strategy look competent by contrast."

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2020 Election

Trump vows he ‘will never concede’ — in 11 pm conspiracy-filled rant

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Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential to President-elect Joe Biden, but is still refusing to concede.

White House aides reportedly convinced him to allow Biden to begin his transition by telling him he did not need to use the word "concede."

But that word appeared to be on his mind late Monday night.

"What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history?" Trump asked while continuing to lie about the election being corrupt.

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