'Overkill' Louisville Preparations Raise Fears Breonna Taylor Officers Won't Be Charged

The preparations being made by authorities in Louisville, Kentucky have raised fears that the officers involved in Breonna Taylor's death won't be charged.

Taylor, a 26-year-old unarmed Black woman, was fatally shot by officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) after they executed a no-knock warrant at her home on March 13. Her name has since become a rallying cry for protesters against police brutality and racism.

Six months on, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected to reveal whether charges will be brought against the officers involved in Taylor's death, although the timing of the announcement remains unclear.

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Taylor's family, urged Cameron on Tuesday to announce that charges will be brought against the officers as soon as possible. "We expect that charges in the Breonna Taylor case be brought THIS week. We DEMAND #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor!!" Crump tweeted Tuesday.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has declared a state of emergency in the city "due to the potential for civil unrest," after police said they would restrict access to downtown.

"We do not know when the announcement will come, but we must prepare for it," Fischer said.

The LMPD also declared a state of emergency, saying it had canceled vacations and were denying requests for time off in anticipation of the decision. Federal officials closed a courthouse and other federal buildings for the week.

The LMPD's interim police chief Robert Schroeder told reporters that the announcement is expected this week. "In the community, we have all heard the rumors," Schroeder said, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. "We all know something is coming. We don't know what it is."

Fischer said the goal of officials was to ensure "space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement. At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe."

But as the city waits, the measures had some questioning why officials were going to such lengths.

Sadiqa Reynolds, the CEO of the nonprofit Louisville Urban League who lives downtown, told The Associated Press the measures were "overkill."

"This is certainly an over-response to the local protests that have been happening in our community," she said, noting that demonstrations have been taking place in the city for months.

"This city keeps meeting the desire for justice with this preparation for war," Reynolds added.

Others said they indicated the decision in the case would not be one welcomed by those demanding justice for Taylor.

Jason Nichols, a senior lecturer in the African American Studies department at the University of Maryland College Park, tweeted that "we all know what's going to happen."

"Daniel Cameron will not file charges against the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor," Nicolas wrote, adding that he expects the announcement to come "in the middle of the night."

"If you have to prepare for a riot, that's how you know that you've made the wrong decision," added Tay Anderson, an activist and community organizer, on Twitter.

"Imagine handling something so badly, from the beginning and then for literally months, that the possible reaction of your own citizens to your decision so terrifies you that you barricade the heart of your city," wrote Marc Murphy, a lawyer and cartoonist for the Courier Journal.

A tweet posted by Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist, also indicated that she believed no charges would be brought — and she also alleged that it was because Republicans "want riots to distract the country as they ram through Supreme Court Justice and help #DonaldTrump steal an election."

"They timed this announcement to deny justice for #BreonnaTaylor on purpose," she wrote.

But Tom Fitton, the president of the conservative activist group Judicial Watch, citing a CNN investigation, tweeted late on Tuesday that "it is hard to see how any murder charges against the involved police officers could be justified."

Meanwhile, Lonita Baker, another attorney representing Taylor's family, urged people to "be patient" and try to tune out rumors.

"There has been no decision, we are all still waiting," she wrote on Facebooku late Tuesday night.

"Thank you for your continued support and continued prayers for indictments in the pursuit of #justiceforbreonnataylor. I really do care about all who are committed to justice and I hate that our city is living on edge waiting."

She added: "Let's just continue to pray and push for justice (even though it feels like we are being held hostage over this decision)."

Crump and Baker have been contacted for additional comment.

Louisville
Police officers control access to downtown Louisville, Kentucky on September 22, 2020 in anticipation of the results of a grand jury inquiry into the death of Breonna Taylor. Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images