For many, it was reinforcement that the United States justice system is only designed to grant justice to some people and not all. Only one of the three officers who fired their weapons into Taylor’s apartment the night of her death was charged at all. Former officer Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors. Officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove have not been charged and are still employed by the Louisville Police Department.
The immediate response following the announcement was for protesters to chant and begin marching, and several other major cities followed Louisville into the streets. In New York City, Portland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., among other cities, people marched and chanted with the same demand: justice.
But as the masses continue to demand justice, law enforcement is already striking back. In Louisville, police arrested over 100 people related to the protests. A state of emergency had been announced prior to the charges being handed down, and police were waiting for protestors with tanks and chemical weapons, and drew their guns on the crowd.
“It’s a special kind of cruelty that more protestors in Louisville tonight will be charged than men who murdered Breonna Taylor,” tweeted writer Roxane Gay.
Protesters in Atlanta had chemical weapons deployed on them, and in Portland, Oregon, the protests were declared a "riot." “I just couldn’t understand how a [grand] jury can come to that conclusion when she was just a sleeping civilian,” a protestor told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I’m hoping this gets a little attention and hoping the officers get their justice because they took an innocent life. Police officers shouldn’t escalate situations as fast as they do.”
“This indictment is another clear and egregious reminder that the criminal-legal system in Louisville — and in this country — does not value Black people or see us as deserving of protection from those who’ve taken an oath to ‘protect and serve,’” the Movement For Black Lives said in a statement. “This decision, which was handed down 41 days before the most critical election in U.S. modern history, is intended to enable state-sanctioned violence against all Black communities and to obstruct people from asserting their first amendment right to protest.”