Louisville Update: Man Is Charged With Shooting Police Officers During Protests
Two police officers who were shot Wednesday night as protesters marched in Louisville, Ky., to demand justice for Breonna Taylor are expected to recover from their wounds, Mayor Greg Fischer says. A man has been arrested and faces multiple charges in connection with the shooting.
Tensions are running very high in Louisville, after a grand jury delivered a limited indictment against one officer who was present when police shot Taylor to death in her apartment.
That now-former officer was indicted for shooting into neighboring homes — but none of the three police officers involved in case have been charged directly over Taylor's killing, prompting fresh outrage in a case that has been closely watched by advocates for racial justice. The outcome triggered protests in many cities. In Louisville, police said they arrested 127 people in incidents related to the protests. Officers were also fired upon after responding to a "shots fired call" around 8:30 p.m. ET.
The man accused of shooting the two officers, 26-year-old Larynzo Johnson, "has been charged with two counts of assault in the first degree and 14 counts of wanton endangerment — all directed against police officers," interim police Chief Robert Schroeder said during a news conference Thursday morning.
In an update on the two officers who were shot, Schroeder and Fischer said the pair — Louisville Metro Police Department Maj. Aubrey Gregory and Officer Robinson Desroches — were fortunate not to have suffered life-threatening wounds.
"I'm extremely happy to report that one of them was treated and released from University Hospital with a leg wound," Fischer said, referring to Gregory. "And the other, who was struck in the abdomen, is in stable condition after undergoing significant surgeries and is expected to recover."
The mayor added that it was "obviously completely unacceptable" that the officers had been shot.
Large protests erupted in Louisville and in cities across the U.S. after a Jefferson County grand jury announced that it had indicted former officer Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment related to shooting into apartments adjacent to Taylor's.
The fact that no charges were directly related to Taylor's death angered the slain woman's family and their supporters.
"They were outraged, they were insulted, and they were mostly offended," Benjamin Crump, one of the family's attorneys, said in an interview with NBC's Today show.
"If Hankison's behavior constituted wanton endangerment of the people in the apartments next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna," Crump said.
"In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder," he added. "How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor's apartment or into Breonna's residence."
"We seem to have two justice systems in America: One for Black America and one for white America," Crump told the Today show, reiterating a point he said he's made many times.
While Hankinson now faces charges, no action was taken against Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, both of whom also opened fire that night. An FBI analysis concluded Cosgrove fired the shots that killed Taylor, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said as he discussed the grand jury's decision on Wednesday.
Cameron said his office determined that Mattingly and Cosgrove "were justified in their use of force," because they had first been fired upon by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. But Crump and other advocates note that Walker has said he was acting in self-defense.
Fischer urged protesters to maintain peace in Louisville, saying, "Our community is hurting."
"Violence only hurts this cause. When any of us gives in to the temptation to channel anger into violence, we slow our progress," the mayor said. "We sacrifice the future for the moment, and that's just another tragedy. And we've seen enough tragedy."
The Louisville area is currently under a countywide curfew from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
The outcome of the grand jury process also disappointed Taylor's neighbors, who say the police recklessly endangered them and children who were asleep when bullets began to fly through the walls.
"There is some disappointment that everyone was not indicted, and there's also disappointment that no one is facing any charges, presently, for the death of Breonna Taylor," attorney Brandon Lawrence, who represents Taylor's neighbors Chelsey Napper and Cody Etherton, told member station WFPL.
Lawrence said he is pursuing a civil suit against the three officers, adding that the police failed to follow protocols.
"We believe that everyone on the scene played a role in what happened that night, and they should have to account for what they did and have justice administered," he told WFPL.
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