WASHINGTON DC: The Kentucky National Guard announced that approximately 500 guardsmen are deploying to Louisville, Ky. to provide support for local law enforcement dealing with renewed unrest in the city.
The Kentucky National Guard said, “This morning, Governor Andy Beshear authorized the deployment of approximately 500 of our Guardsmen. This activation will provide civil disturbance support to the Louisville Metro Police Department and protect critical infrastructure sites in and around Louisville. Guard leadership will retain command and control while working with the LMPD.”
Beshear requested the mobilization ahead of the Wednesday announcement of charges against officers involved in the March shooting of Breonna Taylor.
“Our goal is to make sure we can keep everyone safe,” Beshear said as he announced the deployment.
“We’re here to support the city of Louisville and its citizens and provide public safety,” Brig. Gen. Hal Lamberton, Kentucky’s Adjutant General said. “Our efforts in the city are a tailored response to the ongoing civil disturbance at the direction of the Governor. We’re a part of this community too.”
The guard deployment was announced hours after a grand jury indictment against one of the three officers serving a search warrant at Breonna Taylor’s home. Taylor was killed when officers returned fire after being shot at.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said on Wednesday afternoon that the officers did not enter on a “no knock” warrant, as previously reported, and announced their presence before entering.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, admitted to hearing knocking at the door and firing at the police officers first, in what he said was self-defense. One of Walker’s bullets struck LMPD Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly. Walker was previously charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but charges were later dropped.
Officer Mattingly, Officer Myles Cosgrove, and Officer Brett Hankinson returned fire, killing Taylor, who was in the apartment at the time the warrant was being served. Hankinson was the only officer charged in the incident and faces three counts, including a Class D felony charge of first-degree wanton endangerment for firing shots that endangered other apartments neighboring Taylor’s.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer issued a county-wide curfew order from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. for the ensuing 72-hour period.
“Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights,” Fischer said. “At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”
Two LMPD officers have been already injured by gunfire amid the unrest in Louisville. A suspect in the shooting attack on LMPD officers has been arrested and identified as Larynzo Johnson.
Local media reported that around 100 others were arrested in Louisville overnight following the renewed demonstrations Wednesday.