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Pittsburghers Demand Justice After Grand Jury Doesn't Charge Officers For Killing Breonna Taylor

Bill O'Driscoll
90.5 WESA

On Wednesday, a Kentucky grand jury decided not to charge Louisville police for the killing of Breonna Taylor during a drug raid gone wrong, with prosecutors saying that two officers who fired their weapons at the Black woman were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire.

Later Wednesday night, hundreds of protesters gathered in Pittsburgh, demanding that Black women be heard and carrying signs that read “abolish police” and “change racist laws.”

The event, organized by 1Hood Media, started at Freedom Corner at the Hill District. Co-organizer Nique Craft started off by saying, “getting up every day in a Black woman’s body is hard as [expletive]."

Also in attendance was Dannielle Brown, who is demonstrating to push Duquesne University to release more information about her son’s death.

While speaking to the crowd, Brown said Taylor was “a casualty of war,” and that police “target us.”

The only charges Wednesday were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor's that had people in it. The FBI is still investigating potential violations of federal law in connection with the raid at Taylor's home on the night of March 13.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for Taylor's family, denounced the decision as “outrageous and offensive.”

“We shouldn’t have to be in pain every single time for y’all to listen to us,” said Craft at the rally in Pittsburgh.

Protesters marched from the Hill to downtown, eventually making their way to the City-County Building, where they used the steps as a stage.

Louisville police said Wednesday night that an officer had been shot amid protests following the grand jury's decision. 

A spokesman for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department issued a brief statement saying ‘’We currently have an officer shot. We'll update when we can."

The statement did not elaborate on the condition of the officer or the circumstances of the shooting.

That development came amid a fast-changing scene in Louisville, where police had earlier fired flash bang devices to clear demonstrators from a downtown square Wednesday evening. 

90.5 WESA's Sarah Kovash and the Associated Press contributed to this story. 

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: