TWO police officers were shot in Louisville as violence erupted on Wednesday night in the wake of the decision not to prosecute officers over the death of Breonna Taylor.
Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Rob Schroeder told reporters late Wednesday night that one officer is alert and in stable condition, the other is in surgery. Police have also arrested one suspected.
“I am very concerned about the safety of our officers,” Schroeder said.
“We have had two officers shot tonight and it’s very serious. It’s a dangerous condition,” Schroeder added. “I think the safety of the officers and community we serve is utmost importance.”
President Trump tweeted he had made a call with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, who requested the National Guard come to his state.
“Praying for the two police officers that were shot tonight in Louisville, Kentucky. The Federal Government stands behind you and is ready to help,” Trump tweeted. “Spoke to Andy Beshear and we are prepared to work together, immediately upon request!”
Harrowing footage showed people running as gunshots rang out in the Kentucky city – with a witness heard saying: “They’re shooting at the cops”.
“They blasting at the police,” said a protester on camera as gunshots were heard not too far away, immediately followed by sirens.
Louisville Metro Police Department spokesperson Lamont Washington confirmed an officer had been shot in the city’s downtown area at Brook and Broadway just before 8:30 PM Wednesday.
Metrosafe, Louisville’s 911 emergency communications agency, has also confirmed a second officer was involved in a shooting.
“Violence against law enforcement is NEVER acceptable in a civil society,” Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf tweeted. Praying for the well being of the injured LMPD officers.”
FBI Louisville have been deployed to the area “and will continue to assist in the investigation.”
This comes as LMPD have arrested at least 29 people as the night continues raging on, and as police have deployed flashbangs at protesters congregating in Jefferson Square Park so they would comply with the city’s mandated curfew and clear the area.
Breonna Taylor protesters have clashed with cops in Kentucky as fury erupts after no police officers were charged in her death.
Louisville officer Brett Hankison was charged on Wednesday with three counts of wanton endangerment – but this was related to the stray shots fired into the apartments of Taylor’s neighbors.
The news led to anger breaking out across the city, with reports of several arrests being made and tear gas being deployed on protesters.
The indictment was handed down nearly 200 days after Taylor was fatally shot in a hail of bullets during a botched police investigation that targeted a drug dealer who lived 10 miles away in Kentucky.
Hankinson, who was fired from LMPD in June, was briefly held in jail before being released on a $15,000 bond late on Wednesday.
Officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove were not charged in Taylor’s death, and no homicide or manslaughter charges were brought forward.
Taylor’s devastated family lamented the decision, as they had hoped for manslaughter charges.
Wanton endangerment is a class D felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Arrests happening on Bardstown Road… it feels like some sort of chemical agent, likely tear gas was deployed. I am coughing @WHAS11 pic.twitter.com/BpJeusWmgd
It is a lesser charge than both manslaughter and murder.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents Taylor’s family, slammed the indictment as “outrageous and offensive” following the announcement.
“If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too,” Crump said.
Actress Viola Davis, who launched a campaign calling for justice in Taylor’s death, called the announcement a “bulls**t decision.”
The National Guard was deployed to Louisville to aid local cops in preparing for possible protests over the lack of charges.
Massive trucks drove into the city’s downtown area amid precautions for potential violence.
NBC News correspondent Blayne Alexander shared footage of the scene in Louisville following the controversial announcement.
Ahead of the curfew on Wednesday night, police in Louisville declared an unlawful assembly as protesters gathered in anger.
When asked about the charges announced on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said: “My message is I love the black community.
“I’ve done more for the black community than any other president and I say, with a possible exception of Abraham Lincoln … nobody’s done more, Abraham Lincoln, let’s give him the nod, but beyond that nobody’s done more.”
He continued on to say he didn’t “know enough about it” but said he “heard a decision was just made” and will soon have a comment on the charges.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who introduced the Breonna Taylor Act – legislation to ban the no-knock search warrants after Taylor’s death – said: “I think that the rule of law is an important thing and I hope that people will accept that.”
However, officials announced on Wednesday that no such warrants were used the day Taylor died.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron released the results of his office’s ballistics report, which determined that the three LMPD cops didn’t conduct a no-knock search warrant.
“Officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment”, said Cameron, who added that an “independent witness near Taylor’s apartment” corroborates his office’s findings.
“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves.”
The AG also revealed that neither Hankison nor Mattingly had any involvement in obtaining the search warrant for Taylor’s home, although his investigation didn’t include how it was acquired.
The charges against Hankinson stemmed from shots he fired that hit or endangered three people in neighboring apartments, not Taylor.
Hankison’s shots at Taylor weren’t fatal, Cameron said later Wednesday.
The single fatal shot was fired by Cosgrove, but his use of force was “justified,” according to the AG.
Taylor “would have died within a few seconds to two minutes of being shot,” he added.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the attorney of Mattingly called Taylor’s shooting a “tragedy.”
But he also claimed that the officers didn’t act in an “unprofessional” matter in the fatal shooting.
“They did their duty, performed their roles as law enforcement officers and, above all, did not break the law,” the statement reads.
Ahead of the grand jury’s decision, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 72-hour curfew for his city beginning at 6.30pm on Wednesday.
The curfew was enforced hours after Fischer declared a state of emergency “due to the potential for civil unrest.”
“Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement,” Fischer said in a statement.
“At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”