Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says he has authorized a “limited” deployment of the National Guard as hundreds of demonstrators have gathered to protest a grand jury’s decision to not indict police officers on criminal charges directly related to Breonna Taylor’s death.
The Democratic governor said Wednesday at a news conference that the deployment is “based on very specific operations,” and is under the sole command of the National Guard.
Beshear said the National Guard would protect “critical infrastructure,” including hospitals.
Meanwhile, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the indictment of one of the officers on a charge of wanton endangerment “confirmed our decision to terminate” him from the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Fischer said the case is “far from over” and the FBI is continuing its probe into the matter.
Also, LMPD is conducting a Professional Standards Unit investigation to determine if any policies and procedures were violated by officers involved in the case.
In urging calm, Fischer said: “Let’s turn to each other, not on each other.”
On Wednesday, a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the killing of Breonna Taylor during a drug raid gone wrong. Prosecutors said Wednesday that two officers who fired their weapons at the Black woman were justified in using force to protect themselves.
The only charges brought by the grand jury were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into Taylor’s neighbors’ homes. Taylor was shot multiple times by officers who burst into her home on March 13 during a narcotics investigation.
By 5 p.m. ET, some protesters in Louisville had been ordered by police to disperse, an order that followed the grand jury decision by mere hours.
Police on Wednesday afternoon declared a gathering on a street corner outside downtown to be “unlawful” and threatened to use chemical agents and make arrests if people did not leave.
The order was directed at a group of protesters that broke off from other demonstrators who had gathered downtown.
Curfew in the Kentucky city is set for 9 p.m.