Louisville HS sports canceled after cops escape charges in Breonna Taylor's death

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On Wednesday, a Louisville grand jury indicted former detective Brett Hankinson on three felony charges of wanton endangerment in the police shooting that killed Breonna Taylor in her home.

All three charges address Hankinson allegedly endangering Taylor’s neighbors by firing into Taylor’s apartment on March 13. Three people were in the neighboring apartment, accounting for the three charges.

Neither Hankinson nor any of the others involved in the shooting were charged in Taylor’s death.

High school sports part of wider Louisville shutdown

The decision prompted widespread backlash and has prompted Jefferson County Public Schools to cancel all high school sports practices and games on Wednesday. The status of Friday’s high school football games has not been decided, JCPS spokesperson Renee Murphy told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Government offices, courts, roads and downtown businesses in Louisville were also closed Wednesday in anticipation of public protest to the grand jury decision.

Mayor Greg Fischer declared a preemptive state of emergency on Tuesday, citing “the potential for civil unrest.”

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 21: Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, poses for a portrait in front of a mural of her daughter at Jefferson Square park on September 21, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Demonstrators gathered to prepare for possible unrest in wake of the Grand Jury decision regarding the officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police officers during a no-knock warrant at her apartment on March 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Demonstrators have occupied the park for 118 days. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, stands in front of a mural of her slain daughter at Jefferson Square park in Louisville on Monday. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

How the shooting happened

Police shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, when they executed a no-knock warrant on her apartment. Taylor was asleep with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when three officers including Hankinson tried to break down the front door. Police suspected Walker on drug chargers. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.

Walker told authorities he asked the officers to identify themselves as they broke into the home. He says that they did not, and he opened fire in self-defense. Police returned fire, fatally wounding Taylor. Detective Myles Cosgrove fired 16 shots, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly fired six shots and Hankinson fired 10 shots into the apartment, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Mattingly and Cosgrove escaped charges altogether. Cameron said on Wednesday that their use of force was “justified.

The police killing of Taylor has been a focus of this summer’s protests of police brutality and racial injustice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Athletes across sports have repeatedly called for justice for Taylor, and many of them responded to Wednesday’s grand jury decision.

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