CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Approximately 100 protesters assembled in downtown Charleston Wednesday night after a Kentucky grand jury refused to issue indictments in the March shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
“Black Lives Matter” protesters gathered in Marion Square at approximately 8 p.m. to protest the grand jury’s decision.
Shortly before 9 p.m., Charleston Police said there were about 40 protestors, some of whom had left Marion Square and were walking down Meeting Street on the sidewalk.
“They are being monitored by police,” the department posted on its Twitter account.
They walked several blocks before turning around and heading back to Marion Square. At approximately 9:30 p.m., dozens of protesters, holding signs with messages like, “Justice for Breonna Taylor,” took a knee to protest.
Charleston County Sheriff’s Capt. Roger Antonio said deputies were assisting Charleston Police with protests, adding that deputies would “enforce state laws to arrest individuals as situations arise.”
A Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the killing of Taylor during a drug raid gone wrong, with prosecutors saying Wednesday that two officers who fired their weapons at the Black woman were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire.
The only charges 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.
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers who entered her home on a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, however, said the investigation showed the officers announced themselves before entering. The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
The grand jury’s decision prompted protest marches in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Philadelphia.
The Charleston Police Department released a statement earlier Wednesday warning anyone who participated in a protest to remain peaceful.
Protesters stayed on the sidewalk and police were in their normal uniforms, although police riot teams were reportedly on standby in case things got out of hand.
Wednesday night’s protests ended very differently than a protest in downtown Charleston in May over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. After a day of mostly peaceful protests in Marion Square, rioters took to the streets leaving a trail of destruction along King Street and elsewhere in the Holy City.
A second group of people gathered elsewhere in downtown Charleston to mourn the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Friday at 87.
Ginsburg’s body laid in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington where she was remembered by family, colleagues and friends as a prophet for justice who persevered against long odds to become an American icon.
She spent 27 years on the high court.