Anger, frustration and sadness over the decision not to charge Kentucky police officers for Breonna Taylor’s death poured into the streets in the United States as protesters lashed out at a criminal justice system they say is stacked against Black people.
In Taylor’s hometown, Louisville, police said at least 46 protesters were arrested and two officers were shot and wounded about half an hour before a 9pm curfew took effect. Louisville Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said in a news briefing that the officers were being treated at area hospitals and both were expected to recover. Schroeder added that a suspect was in custody.
Activists, celebrities and others have been calling for charges since Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers who entered her home during a narcotics investigation in March.
Hundreds of demonstrators chanted Taylor’s name and marched in cities such as New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Las Vegas. People gathered in central Chicago’s Millennium Park, demanding justice as passing drivers on Michigan Avenue honked their horns. Authorities unleashed chemical agents on some protesters after they tried to climb on a SWAT vehicle in Atlanta and others were arrested.
Within minutes of the announcement, about 100 demonstrators marched from Jefferson Square along the central thoroughfare of Sixth Street chanting: “No justice, no peace!”
Many simply sat or stood in stunned silence after hearing the grand jury’s decision.
Jefferson Square became the epicentre of Louisville residents’ outrage over the killing of Taylor, who became a national symbol of racial injustice much like George Floyd, the Black man who died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.