World

Two police officers shot amid protests in US over Taylor ruling

US jury decides not to charge any officer involved in the killing of medical worker sleeping at home

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: Two US police officers were shot and wounded late on Wednesday in Louisville, Kentucky, during protests against a grand jury ruling decried by civil rights activists as a miscarriage of justice in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March.

The grand jury decided that none of the three white officers involved in the deadly police raid on Ms Taylor's apartment would be charged for causing her death, though one officer was indicted on charges of endangering her neighbours.

The indictment came more than six months after Ms Taylor, 26, a black emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse, was killed in front of her armed boyfriend after the three officers forced their way into her home with a search warrant in a drug trafficking investigation.

Her death became a symbol, and her image a familiar sight, during months of daily protests against racial injustice and police brutality in cities across the United States.

Following the grand jury announcement, protesters immediately took to the streets of Kentucky's largest city and marched for hours chanting, "No lives matter until Black lives matter," amid sporadic clashes with police in riot gear.

The demonstrations remained mostly peaceful until several gunshots rang out as heavily armed police closed in on a throng of protesters at nightfall, ordering the crowd to disperse about a half hour before a 9pm curfew was due to go into effect.

A Reuters journalist on the scene heard gunfire erupt from the crowd moments after the police fired chemical irritants and "flash-bang" rounds.

Two officers were shot and wounded, interim Louisville Metropolitan Police chief Robert Schroeder told reporters.

ARREST

One suspect was arrested, and the two wounded officers were in stable condition - one undergoing surgery - with non-life-threatening injuries, Mr Schroeder said. He gave no further details.

Sympathy protests of varying sizes were also held in several other cities on Wednesday, including New York, Washington, Atlanta and Chicago.

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden urged that protests be peaceful.

He told reporters in Charlotte, North Carolina, he would review the grand jury decision before commenting further.

"My heart goes out to Breonna's mother... they (protests) should be peaceful.

"Do not sully her memory or her mother's by engaging in any violence. It would be totally inappropriate for that to happen. She wouldn't want it nor would her mother...

"I don't know the details so I'm reluctant to comment," Mr Biden said.

Mr Benjamin Crump, a prominent civil rights lawyer representing the Taylor family, denounced the outcome of the grand jury probe, saying it was "outrageous" that none of the three officers involved in the raid was criminally charged with causing Ms Taylor's death.

Governor Andy Beshear called on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to release all evidence from the investigation to benefit the public's understanding of the case.

"Those feeling frustration, hurt - they deserve to know more," he said.

Addressing a separate news conference, Mayor Greg Fischer said the US Justice Department was still investigating whether federal laws were broken in connection with Ms Taylor's death, including possible civil rights violations, while a broader police inquiry remained underway. - REUTERS

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