Pritzker, Lightfoot, Preckwinkle Discuss ‘Miscarriage Of Justice,’ Upcoming Protests In Shooting Death Of Breonna Taylor

Chicago News

CHICAGO (CBS) — “A miscarriage of justice.”

That’s how Illinois Governor JB Pritzker described the decision to indict an officer with “wanton endangerment” in connections with the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. He was joined by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in addressing Wednesday’s indictment and future protests in the Chicago area.

They urged peaceful protests. At 7:00 Wednesday night, Lightfoot said there will citywide moment of silence for the memory of Taylor. Lightfoot added “I encourage you to say her name.”

She added that the city is “ready” for the protests.

“We’re going to do everything we can to protect and support peaceful expression of First Amendment rights. But as we seen people step over the line, we’ll be ready and we are ready to address that with the appropriate level of response,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot did not outline plans for street closures, the raising of bridges or other preemptive plans.

“I don’t want to speculate about what may or may not happen. We’re not there. But if we need to be there, we will be there. We’ve been thinking about this moment for quite some time, not knowing of course what the grand jury’s decision would be. But we are prepared in the city of Chicago.”

Governor Pritzker said while the National Guard has been notified, he hopes protests will stay peaceful.

“We have seen that there are people who have wanted to take advantage of these moments, not the peaceful protesters. It’s people who see that there’s peaceful protest, and they will hide, perhaps even among peaceful protesters or think that police are distracted and take advantage of that moment,” Pritzker said.

“I want to say to every Black woman, every Black mother, sister to their brothers to their husbands, and their friends that I will not rest until the state of Illinois and this country, treat you with the respect and equality,” Pritzker said.

More than six months after emergency medical worker Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police in her Louisville home, a grand jury has indicted one officer in relation to shooting into her neighbor’s apartment — but no officers were indicted for their role in Taylor’s death.

Former officer Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment and two other officers who opened fire were not indicted.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the results of the grand jury proceedings in a press conference at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort. He called Taylor’s death a tragedy but said it was his job to put emotions aside and determine whether criminal statutes were violated.

“There is no doubt this is a gut-wrenching and emotional case, and the pain many people are feeling is understandable,” Cameron said. “I deeply care about the value and sanctity of human life. It deserves protection. And in this case, a human life was lost. We cannot forget that.”

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown also commented on the fact that no officer was charged with her death. He said in Chicago his department is ready for protests but also to engage in dialog with the community.

“Breonna’s death must lead to change, and more open dialogue about policing. We need to continuously hold ourselves accountable. Chicago Police Department must follow the path of reform, ensuring that we are in compliance with our consent decree is a floor, not a ceiling. For those that want to speak out after today’s ruling, Chicago Police Department officers will continue to protect your first amendment right to protest,” Brown said.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson joined the local leaders regarding the indictment, including Jahmal Cole of the organization My Block My Hood My City. He said there will be a protest set for the downtown area at noon on Saturday September 26. He urged people to be peaceful and not destructive in demonstrations.

“I don’t know if you’re fighting for humanity or fighting for Instagram,” Cole said. “Some people are gonna use this major event as an opportunity to bring people together to protest peacefully right and to register people to vote. And change the system from within. But regardless of the verdict today, a very innocent Black woman was shot dead by police. The story that we’ve been the characters in for far too long.”

Mayor Lightfoot said Taylor’s murder has been part of a movement of protests where Black men and women were killed at the hands of police.

“This ruling is absolutely heartbreaking. It leaves more questions than it answers. My fear is that it reinforces the deeply held notion that there are two sides of justice. As a lawyer, former federal prosecutor and a defense attorney, I know that our flawed system, our criminal justice often feels unfair and can be brutal, particularly to people of color,” Lightfoot said.

Cook Co. Board President Preckwinkle added that while the incident is not new, there needs to be a call for accountability.

“For the entirety of our nation’s history, Black and brown people have been killed by the police, with impunity. This is a profoundly disturbing reality,” Preckwinkle said. “The names on the headlines since Brianna’s murder: George Floyd, Daniel Prude Jacob Blake, just to name a few. There is much more work to be done.”

Earlier Wednesday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said Illinois National Guard on notice in the event of demonstrations surrounding the fact that no charges were made in Taylor’s death.

Taylor’s case has taken the national spotlight in the fight against institutionalized racism, after the 26-year-old unarmed Black woman was shot and killed by police during a botched raid in March. The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville’s Metro Council. According to the attorney general, the warrant was not served as a “no knock” warrant.

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