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The Louisville police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor escaped charges related to her death in a grand jury decision Wednesday, prompting widespread backlash and calls for accountability.
Colin Kaepernick joined the protest on Twitter, demanding the abolition of police.
Controversial grand jury ruling
A Louisville grand jury indicted former detective Brett Hankinson on three felony charges of wanton endangerment in the shooting. Those charges are related to Hankinson allegedly endangering the safety of three of Taylor’s neighbors when he fired shots into her apartment on March 13.
Hankinson was one of three officers to fire a total of 32 shots into Taylor’s apartment while serving a no-knock warrant, according to Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Detective Myles Cosgrove fired 16 shots, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly fired six shots and Hankinson fired 10 shots, according to Cameron.
None of them face charges in Taylor’s death. Cameron said on Wednesday that Cosgrove’s and Mattingly’s use of force was “justified.”
What happened during shooting
Taylor was asleep with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when the officers tried to break down her front door. Police suspected Walker on drug charges. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.
Walker told authorities he asked the officers to identify themselves as they broke into Taylor’s home. He says that they did not, and he opened fire in self-defense. Police returned fire, fatally wounding Taylor, 26.
The police killing of Taylor has been a focus of this summer’s nationwide protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Floyd’s and Taylor’s deaths amid a series of publicized cases of police violence against Black Americans have intensified calls for reform and raised questions about the role police serve in society.
Kaepernick’s role in conversation on police reform
Kaepernick has long been the face of athlete protest against police brutality and racial injustice, a movement magnified by this year’s widespread public outrage. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback used his platform to kneel during the national anthem, drawing attention to the racial inequities Black and minority Americans face in terms of police violence.
Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016 since his protests became a flashpoint in NFL circles. He’s continued to advocate for social justice during his absence from football.
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