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Officials plead for calm amid anger and 'a lot of hurt' over Breonna Taylor case

By Kurtis Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A day after grand jurors declined to charge officers for killing Breonna Taylor - a Black woman who was shot dead at night inside her own apartment six months ago - a quiet sense of mourning has engulfed this city tucked along the banks of the Ohio River, now the epicenter of national outrage over police killings of unarmed Black people.

Concrete barriers and dump trucks blocked off several streets in downtown Louisville on Thursday as National Guard troops stood watch at intersections. In an image that harkened back to the weeks after Taylor's death, plywood covered the windows of most mom-and-pop shops, banks, hotels and restaurants.

"Hurt," said Robyn Williamson, an executive assistant, while running into a downtown office building to grab supplies. "That's all I can manage to say. Hurt. A lot of hurt."

Mayor Greg Fischer, speaking at a news conference Thursday, called for peace in the city, while acknowledging the pain felt by many here.

"The question obviously is: What do we do with this pain?" said Fischer. "There is no one answer, no easy answer to that question."

On Wednesday, hours after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the grand jury's findings, protesters marched peacefully through the city for several hours. But shortly before the city's 9 p.m. curfew, gunshots rang out and Louisville's interim police chief, Robert Schroeder, announced that two police officers had been shot.


Officer Aubrey Gregory was shot in the hip and was treated and released from the hospital. Officer Robinson Desroches, who joined the force 18 months ago, was shot in the abdomen and underwent surgery.

A 26-year man, Larynzo Johnson, has been charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and 14 counts of wanton endangerment of a police officer.

Law enforcement officials said that 127 people were arrested during Wednesday's protests.

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday called on Cameron to make public all documents from the grand jury proceedings in the interest of transparency and helping the public heal.


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