Celebrities are reacting after news that a Kentucky grand jury will indict only one of the police officers being investigated for their roles in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Viola Davis expressed her outrage online, calling the outcome a ‘Bulls*** decision!!!’
‘BLACK LIVES MATTER!!! Cannot be said enough times,’ the Oscar-winning actress, 55, went on, also reposting messages from the NAACP and TV One.
Leaders in Louisville, Kentucky and across the nation are now bracing themselves for widespread protests and unrest in the wake of the grand jury’s outcome, which came over four months after the 26-year-old EMT’s death.
Shortly after news of the verdict, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer declared a citywide 9pm curfew will be in place for the next 72hours.
Outrage: Celebrities are reacting after news that a Kentucky grand jury will indict only one of the police officers being investigated for their roles in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor
Calling BS: Viola Davis lead celebrities reacting to news only one of the three officers being investigated for the death of Taylor, calling it a ‘bulls*** decision’
Fellow star Kerry Washington expressed her anger while sharing a post by the ACLU, which said: ‘Today’s verdict is not accountability and not close to justice.’
Later she criticized Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron for acting politically, tweeting: ‘Daniel Cameron is on Donald Trump´s short list as replacement of #RGB on the Supreme Court. The same man who decided to not charge the officers responsible for killing #BreonnaTaylor. Vote.’
Activist/actress Yara Shahidi, 20, called the decision ‘insulting,’ telling her half-a-million Twitter followers: ‘What is most insulting is that the recommended charges aren’t even in response to the MURDER of Breonna Taylor, but to the POTENTIAL injury of other people in the apartment…..’
Louisville detective Brett Hankinson was not indicted for involvement in Taylor’s death but on three counts of the class D felony of wanton endangerment for ‘wantonly firing his gun’ into an adjoining apartment.
A follow-up tweet compared the controversial ‘no knock warrant’ that lead to Breonna’s wrongful death to the oppressive impact of institutional racism in the US.
‘”No knock warrants” feels analogous to the experience of being Black in America,’ she wrote, ‘The unsolicited intrusion of racism and violence dealt with on a daily basis.’
Conflict of interest: Later she criticized Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron for acting politically, tweeting: ‘Daniel Cameron is on Donald Trump´s short list as replacement of #RGB on the Supreme Court. The same man who decided to not charge the officers responsible for killing #BreonnaTaylor. Vote’
No justice, no peace: Fellow star Kerry Washington expressed her anger while sharing a post by the ACLU, which said: ‘Today’s verdict is not accountability and not close to justice’
Unreal: Activist/actress Yara Shahidi called the outcome ‘insulting,’ noting that the sole officer indicted’s charges were for endangering the public, not for shooting a woman sleeping in her own apartment
Emotions: Director Ava DuVernay sent her compassion to Breonna’s loved ones
Director Ava DuVernay sent a compassionate message to Breonna’s loved ones, tweeting: ‘God bless Breonna’s family and all who knew and loved her.
‘Her tragic death compounded by the violence of silence and inaction by the city she called home is more than any of them should have to endure.
Common shared a poignant quote from writer James Baldwin, tweeting: ‘”To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost all of the time.” James Baldwin. #BreonnaTaylor.’
He followed up with another searing quote from Malcom X, which said: ‘If you stick a knife in my back 9 in and pull it out 6 in, there’s no progress.
‘If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. The progress is healing the wound that the blow made. They won’t even admit the knife is there.’
Words of wisdom: Common quoted three icons of social justice, sharing words from James Baldwin, Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Heart goes out: MLK’s daughter Bernice King herself shared her grief for Taylor’s family
A quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. followed: ‘Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.’
MLK’s daughter Bernice King herself shared her grief for Taylor’s family, writing: ‘Praying for Breonna’s mother and family. Because they knew and loved her before her name became a hashtag.’
Journalist Jemele Hill wrote: ‘The state of Kentucky deemed the lives of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors to be worth more than her own. Let that sink in.’
Then she reminded the public that Attorney General is an elected position in Kentucky, urging citizens to vote Daniel Cameron out of office.
Top Chef host/judge Padma Lakshmi wrote: ‘What we saw today was not justice. May Breonna Taylor’s spirit rest in power as we all continue the fight #justiceforbreonnataylor.’
Think about that: Journalist Jemele Hill wrote: ‘The state of Kentucky deemed the lives of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors to be worth more than her own. Let that sink in’
Make your voice heard! she reminded the public that Attorney General is an elected position in Kentucky, urging citizens to vote Daniel Cameron out of office
Dedicated to the fight: Top Chef host/judge Padma Lakshmi wrote: ‘What we saw today was not justice. May Breonna Taylor’s spirit rest in power as we all continue the fight’
Singer Jojo was disturbed by the fact Hankinson will only be facing wanton endangerment charges.
She tweeted out the legal definition of wanton endangerment to her followers to illustrate her point.
The Leave (Get Out) singer’s next post said: ‘BREONNA TAYLOR. She deserves better. She should be alive. Bare minimum. But since she isn’t- I’m praying for her family. Praying for #LouisvilleKy’
Jojo then accused Twitter of censoring messages regarding the Taylor case, 20minutes later writing: ‘Wow is twitter censoring tweets about Breonna Taylor rn??? Where did my tweets go?’
She followed that up with ‘love to Breonna’s family. To Louisville,’ before finishing by saying: ‘wow. This is America.’
Spelling it out: Singer Jojo was disturbed by the fact Hankinson will only be facing wanton endangerment charges
Demanding answers: Jojo then accused Twitter of censoring messages regarding the Taylor case
Reflecting: She followed that up with ‘love to Breonna’s family. To Louisville,’ before finishing by saying: ‘wow. This is America’
Actress Yvette Nicole Brown was incensed, writing: ‘No. Officers. Charged. In. The. Killing. Of. #BreonnaTaylor. One. Was. Charged. For. Endangering. But. NOT. Killing. Her. Neighbors. #MakeMeWannaHollerAndThrowUpBothMyHands.’
Singer/This Is Us star Mandy Moore was speechless, telling the public: ‘I don´t have the words. #BreonnaTaylor and her family deserve justice.’
On Instagram Mandy shared a portrait Breonna with the caption voicing her support for Black Lives Matter, captioning the post: ‘Today’s news is devastating and infuriating and indicative of a miserably broken system.
‘Breonna Taylor’s life had value. She and her family deserve justice. Black women matter. Black Lives matter.’
‘So, no one is responsible for killing #BreonnaTaylor ?’ wondered Mia Farrow.
‘Disgusted. Enraged. Heartbroken,’ Dan Levy wrote, then urging followers to contribute to the Louisville Community Bail Fund. ‘Please contribute if you can. Justice should not be a luxury. #BreonnaTaylor’
And as the messages poured in, Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron was quick to denounce critics in remarks made shortly after the grand jury’s decision.
Beyond words: Singer/This Is Us star Mandy Moore was speechless, telling the public: ‘I don´t have the words. #BreonnaTaylor and her family deserve justice’
Black Lives Matter: Mandy went on to stress her support for BLM and the fight against systemic racisim
Anger: Actress Yvette Nicole Brown was incensed
Question: ‘So, no one is responsible for killing #BreonnaTaylor ?’ wondered Mia Farrow
Give back: ‘Disgusted. Enraged. Heartbroken,’ Dan Levy wrote, then urging followers to contribute to the Louisville Community Bail Fund
‘There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who having never lived in Kentucky will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case, that they know our community and the Commonwealth better than we do, but they don’t,’ Cameron said.
‘Let´s not give in to their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions.’
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell on Wednesday announced the grand jury’s decision to charge former detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13.
The first-degree charge, a Class D felony which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, relates to Hankinson shooting into the neighboring apartments during the incident, not Taylor’s death.
Hankinson was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department in June after officials said he violated policy by ‘wantonly and blindly’ firing his gun during the raid.
Sgt Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who were also present at the time of the fatal operation, were not charged.
Neither the grand jury nor the presiding judge elaborated on the charges.
State Attorney General Daniel Cameron addressed the long-awaited decision shortly after the announcement in a news conference in Frankfort.
Louisville police have declared a state of emergency ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s announcement about whether he will charge officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor (pictured)
Officers Myles Cosgrove (left) and John Mattingly (right) who were present during the police raid on March 13, were not charged on Wednesday. Hankison was fired from the LMPD while the other two officers were placed on administrative assignment
A person reacts after a decision in the criminal case against police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead by police in her apartment, in Louisville, Kentucky in March
People react in Kentucky following the grand jury’s decision in the criminal case against police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (left) addressed the grand jury’s decision in a news conference in the capital, Frankfort. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell (right) read the grand jury’s decision in open court on Wednesday afternoon
WHAT IS WANTON ENDANGERMENT?
What is the charge?
Charges of wanton endangerment are brought when a person is found to have recklessly engaged in conduct, without concern for human life, that puts a person at risk of death or serious injury.
‘A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person,’ state law says.
What is the penalty?
Wanton endangerment in Kentucky is a class D felony.
It can bring a sentence of up to five years in prison.
How are the charges related to the Breonna Taylor case?
The three counts of wanton endangerment were brought against Officer Brett Hankison after the bullets he fired inside Taylor’s apartment traveled into a neighboring apartment.
Crime scene photos show the walls of Taylor’s apartment riddled with bullet holes.
He gave a detailed account of the months-long investigation into the events leading up to deadly shooting, which he said had been pieced together by ballistics reports, 911 calls, and witness interviews, due to the lack of bodycam footage.
But Cameron, who is the state’s first Black attorney general, said that the officers were not charged because they acted in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend fired at them.
‘I certainly understand the pain that has been brought about by the tragic loss of Miss Taylor. I understand that as an attorney general … I understand that as a black man,’ Cameron told reporters.
‘This team, myself, and the representatives of the Attorney General’s office have taken a lot of criticism and scrutiny. But that scrutiny in many ways was misplaced because there was not a day that people in this office didn’t go to sleep thinking about this case.
‘Criminal law is not meant to respond to every sorrow and grief, and that is true here. But my heart breaks for the loss of Miss Taylor,’ the AG said.
Investigators believe Cosgrove was responsible for firing the bullet that took Taylor’s life. Taylor was shot at least five times after officers barged into her apartment while acting on a search warrant for a drug investigation.
Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire when police burst in, hitting Mattingly. Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but prosecutors later dropped the charge.
Walker had told police he heard knocking but didn’t know who was coming into the home and fired in self-defense.
Cameron said Cosgrove and Mattingly were not charged after investigators determined their actions were justified because Walker opened fire.
‘According to Kentucky law, the use of force by (Officers Jonathan) Mattingly and (Myles) Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves,’ he said. ‘This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.’
The three officers did not take part in the obtaining of the warrant, he said.
The raid had been widely reported by the media as a ‘no-knock’ warrant however, further investigations later proved the cops had knocked before entering.
Walker had also told investigators he did hear knocking, but maintained the cops had not identify themselves as police.
The charges drew immediate sadness, frustration and anger among the community over the grand jury decision not to go further
Protesters began marching through the streets of Louisville, where Taylor was killed, after the announcement, shouting ‘No justice, no peace’
They knocked on Taylor’s apartment door and announced their presence outside, which Cameron said was corroborated by a neighbor who witnessed the arrival.
Getting no answer, Cameron said police officers ‘breached the door’ and gained entry into the apartment.
Mattingly entered first, and at the end of a corridor saw Taylor and with Walker who was pointing a gun.
Walker fired, injuring Mattingly in the thigh. Mattingly returned fire, and his colleagues began shooting soon after, Cameron said. Hankison fired 10 bullets, Cameron said.
Six bullets hit Taylor, though there is no ‘conclusive’ evidence that any came from Hankinson’s gun, Cameron said. Bullets fired by Hankison traveled into a neighboring apartment.
Some members of the community were seen chanting as they reacted. While others sat quietly and cried
Just one hour before the decision was announced, the National Guard was deployed to downtown Louisville amid fears of unrest and protests
Along with the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Taylor’s case became a major touchstone for the nationwide protests that have gripped the nation since May – drawing attention to entrenched racism and demanding police reform.
The wanton endangerment charges each carry a sentence of up to five years. Protesters began marching through the streets of Louisville, where Taylor was killed, after the announcement, shouting ‘No justice, no peace.’ Some sat quietly and cried.
Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Taylor’s family, called the grand jury’s decision ‘outrageous and offensive!’
‘Justice has NOT been served,’ tweeted Linda Sarsour of Until Freedom, a group that has pushed for charges in the case
Meanwhile in Louisville, officials had been bracing for more protests and possible unrest as the public nervously awaits the decision.
In a midday press conference, Mayor Greg Fischer announced he will impose a 72-hour curfew in the city, from 9pm to 6.30am.
‘No matter what Attorney General Cameron announces, I urge everyone to commit, once again, to a peaceful, lawful response,’ the mayor told reporters.
While emphasizing he does not know the grand jury’s finding, the mayor has declared a state of emergency in the city, and Louisville Metro Police Department has closed off much of downtown to vehicles.
A memorial to Breonna Taylor was set up in Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, as the city anxiously awaits the results of a grand jury inquiry into her death
Officials and local businesses in downtown Louisville braced for potential unrest on Tuesday, after Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency
Plywood covers the windows of downtown businesses as the city prepares for the grand jury findings in the case of Breonna Taylor
Taylor, 26, was killed shortly after midnight on March 13 when three plainclothes officers used a battering ram to force their way in to her Louisville home with a so-called no knock warrant.
Fearing intruders, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a gun. The three officers fired their guns, striking Taylor five times.
Cameron, a Black Republican, has said his investigation into Taylor’s death is ongoing, but has declined to confirm media reports that he is convening a grand jury to vote on whether to bring criminal charges against the officers.
The city’s main federal courthouse has also been closed all week in an order by Chief Judge Greg Stivers of the Western District of Kentucky.
Last week, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family a record-breaking $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit that her mother Tamika Palmer filed against the city and its police department back in April.
At a September 15 press conference announcing the settlement, Palmer repeated her plea for charges to be brought against the officers involved in her daughter’s death.
At least 10 bullets went into Taylor’s apartment through a sliding glass door located in the living room and also through a bedroom window
Bullet holes and blood smeared on the walls could be seen in one evidence photo taken inside the apartment in the hours after Taylor was gunned down
‘As significant as today is, it is only the beginning,’ Palmer said. ‘We must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more.’
In addition to the $12million, the settlement will also include a series of police reforms for Louisville.
Among the reforms is a requirement that police commanders must approve all search warrants before they are sent to a judge.
Mayor Greg Fischer stated that the settlement had nothing to do with Cameron’s criminal investigation and said the city would be enacting reforms regardless of the outcome.
‘I’m deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,’ Fischer said. ‘My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.’
As part of the settlement, the mayor said Louisville police officers will be offered housing credits to move to some of the poorest parts of the city in the hopes of improving community ties.
Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker (pictured together) were sleeping in bed when the officers served the warrant at around 1am on March 13
A timeline of events related to the shooting death of Breonna Taylor
– March 13: Officers serving a narcotics warrant fatally shoot Taylor in her home in Louisville, Kentucky.
– March 13, hours later: Police announce the arrest of Kenneth Walker in the wounding of an officer during an exchange of gunfire; Taylor is left unidentified at the news conference, described as ‘an unresponsive woman who was later pronounced dead.’
– March, April: The shooting stays out of the headlines as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads in the U.S.
– April 27, Taylor’s family files wrongful death lawsuit against police department and city, challenging the police narrative.
– May 13: Top Louisville prosecutor Tom Wine recuses himself from reviewing police investigation, Attorney General Daniel Cameron named as special prosecutor.
– May 22: Prosecutors announce they will drop attempted murder charges against Walker, who shot at officers in his girlfriend’s home.
– May 28: Walker’s anguished 911 call is released, three days after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota, sparking large protests in Louisville.
– May 29: Mayor Greg Fischer suspends use of no-knock warrants by Louisville police.
– June 1: Fischer fires Police Chief Steve Conrad after officers failed to turn on body cameras in shooting of barbecue cook David McAtee during protests in Louisville.
– June 11: Louisville Metro Council unanimously passes ‘Breonna´s Law’ which bans use of no knock warrants.
– June 14: Pop star Beyoncé writes Attorney General Daniel Cameron, urging him to charge police officers.
– June 23: Officer Brett Hankison, one of 3 officers who fired shots the night of Taylor’s death, is fired for ‘blindly’ firing into Taylor´s apartment.
– June 25: Celebrities join hundreds of demonstrators outside state Capitol calling on Cameron to charge officers.
– June 28: Photographer Tyler Gerth is fatally shot at site of ongoing protests in downtown Louisville.
– July 14: Protesters are arrested for demonstrating on Cameron´s front lawn.
– August 12: Taylor´s mother, Tamika Palmer, meets with Cameron.
– September 5: Hundreds peacefully protest outside Kentucky Derby, urging Cameron to criminally charge the officers.
– September 7: Fischer names Yvette Gentry, first Black woman to lead Louisville Police department, as interim chief beginning Oct. 1.
– September 9: Cameron is included on President Donald Trump’s shortlist of Supreme Court candidates.
– September 15: City announces civil settlement providing Taylor´s family with $12 million and promising police reforms.
– September 22: Louisville police set up blockades downtown in anticipation of Cameron’s announcement.