Tear Gas Deployed In Atlanta During Breonna Taylor Protests
Demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday night to voice anger over a Kentucky grand jury's decision not to charge three Louisville police officers directly in the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March.
Police said they arrested 11 people while dispersing crowds, according to NPR member station WABE in Atlanta.
Hundreds gathered at the city's Woodruff Park around 7 p.m. and eventually made their way to the Georgia Capitol. Chants of "say her name" and "what do we want? Justice" rang through the streets, the station reported.
#BreonnaTaylor #Atlanta #protests 📸 by @CalstonChris pic.twitter.com/3HXyx1s0Hv— Lily Oppenheimer (@LilyOppenheimer) September 24, 2020
At times the demonstrations grew tense, with some yelling at National Guard troops, referring to them as "pigs" and "murderers," according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Just before 10 p.m. local time, Georgia state troopers used tear gas to disperse a crowd near the Capitol, the newspaper reported.
Atlanta police deploy tear gas on violent Black Lives Matter rioters after repeated warnings to disperse. https://t.co/10BQGQiR1A— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 24, 2020
Tear gas deployed in Atlanta tonight as protestors descend on the Capitol angry over no charges in Breonna Taylor’s death. pic.twitter.com/OZpMs9eW3l— Martin Savidge (@MartinSavidge) September 24, 2020
"We're not satisfied with the results, a settlement is not enough, the charges were not enough," Taron Harris, 22, told The Journal-Constitution outside the Capitol.
Harris was referring to the $12 million settlement the city of Louisville reached with Taylor's family last week in a wrongful death lawsuit.
"We're here to say enough is enough, and we want justice. And that's all we wanted. We don't care about money, we don't care about anything else," Harris told the paper.
A Kentucky grand jury Wednesday returned an indictment for one of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting. Brett Hankison, who was terminated in June, has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment over shooting into neighboring apartments. The grand jury did not announce charges against the other two officers.
The Taylor case has also made its way into this year's hotly contested U.S. Senate special election race in Georgia.
Democratic candidate the Rev. Raphael Warnock said the decision not to charge the officers involved in Taylor's death was "a gross negligence of justice." Warnock is pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was once co-pastor.
Not charging all the cops responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death is a gross negligence of justice. It devalues the life of Breonna Taylor. Black lives matter. We will not have #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor until all the cops involved are held accountable.— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) September 23, 2020
"Not charging all the cops responsible for Breonna Taylor's death is a gross negligence of justice," Warnock tweeted. "It devalues the life of Breonna Taylor. Black lives matter. We will not have #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor until all the cops involved are held accountable."
According to a Monmouth University poll published Wednesday, Warnock is in a virtual tie with GOP candidates Rep. Doug Collins and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year.
In July, Loeffler, a co-owner of the WNBA franchise the Atlanta Dream, objected to the league's move to dedicate the 2020 season to social justice reform. The league highlighted the Black Lives Matter movement, and several players wore special uniforms honoring Taylor.
Her criticism of the league's stance drew backlash, including from the players union, which tweeted, "E-N-O-U-G-H!"
For her part, Loeffler took to social media to express her outrage over two Louisville police officers being shot during protests following the grand jury's decision.
"The violent mob is out of control," Loeffler tweeted. "We need to get tough and #BackTheBlue before it's too late."
The violent mob is out of control.— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) September 24, 2020
Enough is enough. We need to get tough and #BackTheBlue before it’s too late. https://t.co/wUlEP7bq4x