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Nationwide Protests Continue Amid Breonna Taylor Case Ruling

On Wednesday, September 23, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron released the ruling on 26 year old Breonna Taylor’s murder. Cameron claimed that after thorough investigation, one of the three involved officers, Brett Hankison, will be facing three counts of wanton endangerment of the first degree. This indictment was given six months following the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. 

This ruling neglects to include officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove who both shot into Breonna Taylor’s apartment alongside Hankison. Additionally, while Hankison was removed from the Louisville police department in June, Mattingly and Cosgrove remain on the force.

First-degree wanton endangerment is considered a Class D felony, punishable with fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison. This charge is comparable to pointing a gun at someone or receiving a DUI. The charge fails to include any punishment for the killing of Breonna Taylor, and as many have observed, appears to be in response only to the danger her neighbors were placed in when the shooting occurred. If found guilty for all three charges, Hankison faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Cameron’s statement around 1:00pm was immediately received with intense backlash from the Louisville, Kentucky community. Protests broke out in direct response to the ruling by 2:00pm and continued into the night even after police confrontation. 

Hankison was released from jail on the 23rd after posting a $15,000 bail. Comparatively, as protests have continued across the country multiple participants in Lancaster, PA have been arrested and given a set bail of $1,000,000.

Protests for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement have been going on around the globe since May, originally in response to the murder of 46 year old George Floyd. These protests quickly became headline news as rioting and looting broke out in many locations. Even as coverage of the ongoing demonstrations has become less prominent, the protests and controversy surrounding them continue.

The majority of these nationwide protests have become entirely peaceful; however, police involvement has led to a series of violent outcomes. Video footage from protesters show the use of tear gas, and rubber bullets at dangerously close range. On numerous occasions police have attempted to disperse crowds by driving their cars through the crowded streets.

The efforts of the police have led to the retaliation of protesters as well. Many officers have reported rocks, bricks, and tear gas canisters being thrown back at them. On Thursday in Louisville, KY two officers were shot at the protests responding to Attorney General Cameron’s charges for the Taylor case.

Along with protesters and heavy police presence, counter protesters have also come together in response to the BLM movement. This has resulted in an insurgence of white supremacist groups among these counter protesters.

Protests in Philadelphia were well-attended, spreading a strong message of solidarity and support of the national conversation on Black Lives Matter, as well as advocating for justice in their own city. A protest in June ended with a 6:30pm curfew and extreme force from the police. Multiple protesters were arrested for blocking Vine Street Expressway. In addition, some participants returning to their homes in Fishtown found a group of white supremacists wielding baseball bats and threatening physical injury. Philadelphia police officers who were present did not attempt to remove this group. 

Protests have since continued in Philadelphia to this past weekend, showing unwavering commitment to the cause. There is expected to be a resurgence of protests upon the charging of Mattingly in the Breonna Taylor case. The protests this weekend are specifically focused on justice for Breonna Taylor, while adding to the list of injustices protested in this summer’s resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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