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Two police officers shot in Louisville, one suspect in custody amid Breonna Taylor protests

Two police officers shot in Louisville, one suspect in custody amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police stand guard on the perimeter of a crime scene after a police officer was shot on Sep 23, 2020, in Louisville. (Photo: AP/John Minchillo)

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky: Two Louisville officers were shot during protests on Wednesday (Sep 24) and one suspect was in custody, police said, after demonstrations erupted in the US city when charges were filed against only one policeman involved in the fatal shooting in March of black woman Breonna Taylor.

The officers' injuries were "not life-threatening" and both were in stable condition and undergoing treatment, Louisville interim police chief Robert Schroeder told reporters.

"We have one suspect in custody," he said.

READ: Family of US police shooting victim Breonna Taylor settles civil case for US$12 million

Earlier, Kentucky's attorney-general Daniel Cameron said the two white policemen who fired into Taylor's apartment will not be prosecuted for her death because their use of force during the raid was justified.

A third officer was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment, a relatively low-level felony, stemming from bullets he fired astray into an adjacent apartment of Taylor's neighbours.

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 Taylor's death.

Protesters immediately took to the streets chanting, "No lives matter until black lives matter", marching for hours through Kentucky's largest city, amid sporadic clashes with police in riot gear.

A state of emergency and a 9pm curfew have been declared by the mayor of the city, which has a population of 600,000, with much of downtown closed to traffic.

Some downtown business owners boarded up their shops in anticipation of unrest sparked by the grand jury decision.

READ: US athletes decry charges in Breonna Taylor shooting

The demonstrations wore on past nightfall in defiance of the curfew and remained mostly peaceful until several gunshots rang out in the midst of a skirmish between protesters and heavily armed police, sending members of the crowd scurrying for cover.

A Reuters journalist on the scene heard the gunfire erupt from the crowd moments after police had fired pepper spray and "flash-bang" rounds at protesters.

Law enforcement push protesters back on Sep 23, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images via AFP)

Earlier in the day, about a dozen people were arrested in one confrontation between hundreds of demonstrators and a group of law enforcement officers in the Highlands neighbourhood just outside downtown Louisville.

A number of protesters threw water bottles at police, who responded by firing pepper balls into the crowd. Scuffles ensued, and some windows of area businesses were broken.

Rallies of varying sizes protesting the outcome of the Louisville grand jury investigation also were held in several other cities, including New York, Washington, Atlanta and Chicago.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he was praying for the two officers shot on Wednesday and had spoken to Kentucky's governor to offer federal help.

His Democratic rival in the presidential race, Joe Biden, said the grand jury failed to deliver justice for Taylor but held out hope the federal probe of her death would do just that.

"We do not need to wait for the final judgment of that investigation to do more to deliver justice for Breonna," he added.

Source: Agencies/lk


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