September 23 Breonna Taylor news

By Fernando Alfonso III, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Mike Hayes, Jessie Yeung, Tara John and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 9:01 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
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1:39 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Taylor family attorney: This is "not fully what we wanted" but it "brings us closer to justice"

Ben Crump, attorney for the family of Breonna Taylor, tweeted following the announcement that one of the officers involved had been indicted in the case.

Crump said the announcement that former officer Brett Hankinson was indicted on wanton endangerment was "not fully what we wanted," but added "this brings us closer to justice" for Taylor.

Read his tweet:

1:35 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Louisville police officer indicted in Breonna Taylor's case

Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison
Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison LMPD

A Jefferson County grand jury has charged former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison, one of the three officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, with three counts of wanton endangerment of the first degree.

Hankison was fired from the department more than three months after Taylor's death. He was informed in a letter signed by the police chief that his employment with the department "is terminated," effective immediately.

Hankison violated standard operating procedure when his “actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds” into Taylor’s apartment, then Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in the letter.

“The result of your action seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible,” he wrote. “I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”

1:18 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

How cities across the South are bracing for the Breonna Taylor annoucement

From CNN's Devon Sayers, Jason Morris and Gregory Lemos 

Cities across the American South are on alert as Louisville and the nation wait on the announcement of a decision in the Breonna Taylor investigation.    

In Atlanta, police officer Anthony W. Grant, the Atlanta Police Department is "monitoring the Breonna Taylor court decision closely and we are prepared to make adjustments as necessary."  

The city of Atlanta had a number of protests, some turned violent and destructive, this summer. One incident in the downtown area resulted in six Atlanta officers being charged with using excessive force. The unrest lead to Gov. Brian Kemp sending in the National Guard to help restore calm.  

Meanwhile, in Little Rock, Arkansas, Lt. Casey Clark, public affairs commander of the city's police department, told CNN that while Little Rock is not "moving barricades in and closing streets down like in Louisville," they "are monitoring the situation." 

"We have asked our personnel to have situational awareness and be prepared to come in if needed, if not already on duty. Our Department maintains on-going plans/procedures to deal with both protests and civil unrest," Casey told CNN Wednesday.  

And in Knoxville, Tennessee, police are monitoring the decision as well.   

"The Knoxville Police Department is and will continue to monitor the situation, and we are prepared to respond appropriately to maintain public safety," Knoxville Police Department Communications Manager Scott Erland told CNN Wednesday.  

CNN has reached out to governors, mayors, and police departments across the regional South but has only heard back from what is reported above.  

12:55 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Kentucky commonwealth attorney supports peaceful protests, but will step in when necessary

From CNN’s Mark Morales

Kentucky's Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine told CNN that his office supports peaceful protests, but will get involved if someone intentionally causes destruction of property, someone uses a weapon which could constitute wonton endangerment or is involved in an assault.

“That crosses the line from peaceful protest to violence,” Wine said Wednesday. “We owe it to our community as police and as prosecutors to protect the rest of the community against violence.”

“But the rest of it, people protesting and marching demanding justice, I’m all for it. Let them march. Let them have that opportunity. Let the people in leadership positions understand the depth of their feelings and their concerns," Wine said.

In recent months, most of the protesters have been charged with misdemeanor offenses such as obstruction of traffic or disorderly conduct and those cases were handled by the county attorney, Mike O’Connell, who has dismissed a lot of them, according Wine.

1:03 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Louisville mayor closes downtown government buildings ahead of Breonna Taylor announcement

A memorial to Breonna Taylor, placed in Jefferson Square Park, is photographed in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday, September 23, as the city anticipates of the results of a grand jury inquiry into the death of Breonna Taylor.
A memorial to Breonna Taylor, placed in Jefferson Square Park, is photographed in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday, September 23, as the city anticipates of the results of a grand jury inquiry into the death of Breonna Taylor. Jeff Dean/AFP/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that some government building in the city's downtown area will be closed the rest of today and tomorrow as the city prepares for an expected announcement in the Breonna Taylor case.

"And I'm asking downtown area businesses to allow employees to work remotely as well whenever possible," he said at a news conference.

These are the buildings that will be closing, according to the mayor:

  • Metro Hall and its Annex
  • City Hall and its Annex
  • Fiscal Court
  • The Sinking Fund
  • Louisville Metro Police Department headquarters
  • Metro Development and Metro Safe on South Fifth Street
  • Youth Detention Services
  • The Alexander Building on West Main
  • The Downtown Wellness Center on First Street

Taylor's case, along with other high-profile killings of Black people by police, have sparked protests in Louisville and across the US over racial injustice.

12:50 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Louisville police chief calls for people to "peacefully express themselves"

Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder
Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder WDRB

Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder spoke ahead of an expected grand jury announcement in the Breonna Taylor case.

Schroeder detailed various street closures that are happening in Louisville today and said that all vacation days and off days have been canceled for police this week.

The chief also confirmed that the Kentucky National Guard has been activated.

In anticipation of demonstrations in the city, the chief called for anyone gathering to "peacefully express themselves."

"Our hope is that people will lawfully and peacefully express themselves. We will not tolerate any violence or destruction of property. Let's all be safe. Then come together and work on the challenges we face as a city and as a nation," he said.

 

12:55 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Louisville mayor announces curfew beginning 9 p.m. tonight

Louisville Mayor Greg Fische
Louisville Mayor Greg Fische WLKY

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Robert Schroeder announced Wednesday a countywide curfew starting tonight at 9 p.m. local time.

The 72-hour curfew will be between 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., he said.

12:20 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Louisville will pay Breonna Taylor's family $12 million

From CNN's Mark Morales, Eric Levenson, Elizabeth Joseph and Christina Carrega

The city of Louisville, Kentucky, agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor and institute sweeping police reforms in a historic settlement of the family's wrongful death lawsuit.

Mayor Greg Fischer, Taylor's family and their attorneys announced the settlement at a joint news conference on Sept. 15. Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was killed in her home by police on March 13.

As part of the settlement, the city agreed to establish a housing credit program as an incentive for officers to live in the areas they serve; use social workers to provide support on certain police runs; and require commanders to review and approve search warrants before seeking judicial approval, among other changes.

"Justice for Breonna means that we will continue to save lives in her honor," said Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother. "No amount of money accomplishes that, but the police reform measures that we were able to get passed as a part of this settlement mean so much more to my family, our community, and to Breonna's legacy."

A spokesperson for the mayor's office confirmed the $12 million settlement is the highest-ever paid by the city. Family attorney Benjamin Crump called the payout "historic" and said he believed it is one of the largest amounts ever paid out for a Black woman killed by police in the US.

Mayor Fischer said the city is not admitting wrongdoing in the agreement.

"I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer's pain," Fischer said. "And I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna's death."

12:04 p.m. ET, September 23, 2020

What you need to know about the Breonna Taylor case and the calls for justice

From CNN's Christina Carrega and Elizabeth Joseph

A demonstrator holds a sign with the image of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers.
A demonstrator holds a sign with the image of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers. Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images

Breonna Taylor, an EMT and aspiring nurse, was killed in her own home in March when three plainclothes Louisville police officers executing a "no-knock" warrant returned gunfire after her boyfriend fired a warning shot because he thought he was shooting at intruders.

None of the officers have been charged with a crime. Two of the officers remain on the force. A third officer was fired and is appealing to get his job back.

The FBI is investigating whether Taylor's civil rights were violated. The city of Louisville, Kentucky, agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor and institute sweeping police reforms in a historic settlement of the family's wrongful death lawsuit.

Protests and calls for justice: What's seen as a delay of justice for Taylor's family has moved millions around the world, shaking the consciousness and gaining support from a wide group of stakeholders, including celebrities like NBA superstar LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey who have spoken out against racial injustice.

As a rallying cry, the hashtag #SayHerName has been plastered across signs and social media, and sung at rallies by marchers for social justice across America this summer as the investigations for the deaths of Black men at the hands of police — including George Floyd — seem to have moved faster through the criminal justice system.