In Louisville, Kentucky, a state of emergency was declared in anticipation of demonstrations following the imminent decision of the grand jury to assassinate Breonna Taylor by police.
Taylor, a 26-year-old working as an emergency technician, died in an inquiry into an ex-boyfriend on 13 March by a police department serving a no-knock warrant.
Taylor was with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker at her apartment when police barged in. Walker, who said no cops, shot his gun, thinking that the police were intruders. One officer was shot in the leg and in response, the police fired.
There was no money or drugs in the apartment. One of the three officers involved in the shooting was shot for firing his weapon “willful and blindly,” but no charges against him or the rest of the officers were laid.
The reports showed that Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky Attorney General, submitted evidence to a grand jury that would eventually determine whether to charge each of the three shooting officers. Cameron will also present the findings of his investigation of the case through his office.
When he will make an announcement or whether the Grand Jury has begun proceedings is not entirely clear.
Early in the morning, Louisville Police announced it would reduce downtown car traffic “due to heightened scrutiny and activity in anticipation of an announcement” and “ensure that the area is as safe as possible for downtown tourists to voice their first amends.”
The department has also declared a state of emergency, meaning that every off-day or holiday is terminated and officers are expected to work 12-hour shifts. According to WAVE 3, a local news channel, the federal buildings in downtown Louisville closed and federal forces were summoned to secure federal buildings.
In a tweet on Tuesday morning, the mayor of Louisville Greg Fischer said: “We don’t know when or what an announcement the Attorney General is going to make. Our aim is for potential demonstrators to assemble and express their first right of amendment and brace themselves for any possible eventuality, to keep everyone safe.
Protests in Louisville and across the USA have spread as the investigation by the Attorney General has progressed. Arrest calls for Taylor killing officers have been common, with high-profile individuals, such as singer Beyoncé, who wrote an open letter to Cameron, calling for arrest.
Legal experts have indicated that whether officials are to be charged is unknown but, considering the immunity provided to the police, it may be doubtful.
In most states, including Kentucky, self-defense laws allow an individual to use deadly force against intruders. But security in Kentucky does not allow an individual to injure police officers if they know or can reasonably believe they are in their homes.
Chief of the Interim Police Robert Schroeder said the town has been in contact with Cameron’s office and wants to be informed of any decisions in advance.
“As we all know, with everyday circumstances in mind, the plans often go awry and we need to prepare ahead of time,” Schröder said. He said the attorney general’s office “was confident they will try to give us notice to the best of their capacity.”
Officers who entered their house using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation shot Taylor, a Black emergency physician, eight times the 13 March. The warrant used was related to a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were contained inside it. Louisville Metro Council has since prohibited the use of no-knock warrants.
Wide demonstrations over the death of Taylor at times broke out in the city in May, but the majority of demonstrations have been peaceful since, including a large march outside the Kentucky Derby earlier this month. Actors, athletes, advocates, and the family of Taylor have been urging Cameron, for many months, to sue suspects involved in the raid for criminal reasons.
“We don’t know once again when the announcement will come, but we have to get ready for it,” said Mayor Fischer. “Our aim is to give future manifestors the ability to assemble and express their rights in the First Amendment after the announcement. At the same time, we plan for every eventuality to ensure that everyone is secure.”
Last week, Louisville settled a 12 million dollar lawsuit from Taylor’s family and implemented numerous policy changes as part of the deal.
On Monday, the police said that the department had canceled its holiday and set up barricades to brace for the decision.
The federal courthouse and other federal buildings have been closed for a week by federal authorities.