Breonna Taylor decision: Chicago protests draw hundreds across city, remain peaceful; Illinois National Guard on standby

Protests come after decision not to charge officers in Taylor's death; Officer Brett Hankison indicted for wanton endangerment

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Thursday, September 24, 2020
Breonna Taylor Decision: Chicago protests, reaction
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Breonna Taylor Decision: Chicago protests, reaction

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago protests in wake of the announcement in the Breonna Taylor case in Louisville, Kentucky remained mostly peaceful Wednesday night.

Kentucky officials announced Wednesday afternoon that Louisville Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13. None of the charges are for Taylor's death.

Hundreds took to the streets to protest the grand jury's decision, including a protest in Wicker Park that then moved into Logan Square. The group stopped at a police station and then in Logan Square, someone spray-painted "BLM" for Black Lives Matter and Breonna Taylor's name on a monument.

At one point, a couch in the middle of the street was set on fire and officers put it out and removed it.

The Illinois National Guard was put on standby in case the protests turned violent.

RELATED: At least 2 Louisville officers shot amid Breonna Taylor protests: Police

Hours earlier, there was anger and outrage on the South Side. Marchers blocking the intersection of 79th and Racine streets, shouting the name Breonna Taylor.

"Unfortunately, the grand jury today couldn't even say her name," said Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church.

RELATED: Breonna Taylor protests: Anger, frustration spills into America's streets after officer's indictment

Father Pfleger even wrote Taylor's name in fake blood on the street.

"When you take someone's life, it shouldn't matter who it is or who you are. You should be held accountable for it, right?" said protester Teyonna Lofton.

The St. Sabina church bells tolled for a life lost too soon after a citywide moment of silence.

"Black lives matter. Black woman lives matter. And we're out here demanding that everyone act like it," Lofton said.

Meanwhile, outside Chicago Police Headquarters at 35th Street and Michigan Avenue, there were more cries for justice.

"It hurts me that she didn't get the justice that she deserved," said protester Anna Acosta.

"The moment when we see such inhumanity justified by our legislators, system...I think we always have to be shocked and outraged," said protester Tanya Watkins.

TANYA WATKINS: "I think people keep fighting because they have hope"

Chicago police said there has been at least one arrest from the protests. More demonstrations are planned for the coming days.

While the city and state have put the National Guard on standby, Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said they expect protests to remain peaceful. Lightfoot said the city is prepared if that should change, and that if bridges had to be raised or a curfew had to be put into effect, they would give residents at least one hour notice.

Legal analysis of grand jury decision

Chicago police squad cars and even garbage trucks could be seen Wednesday in the city's downtown. The Illinois Restaurant Association also warned businesses to stay alert in case of protests or possible looting in response to the Taylor decision.

WATCH: CPD Supt. David Brown speaks on Breonna Taylor charging decision

Chicago experienced vandalism, looting and civil unrest twice this year, once after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and then again after Chicago police shot a man in Englewood.

RELATED: Chicago George Floyd protests: Businesses board up after day of rallies turns violent; at least 6 shot, 1 killed

Pritzker's office released a statement Tuesday night, saying, "The Governor and Mayor Lightfoot met this morning and are in regular communication and the Governor has spoken with leaders across the state. As the Governor has always said, all of the state's resources are available to municipalities if needed; this includes additional Illinois State Police troopers and the National Guard. The Governor is putting the Guard in a state of readiness to ensure they are available if municipalities request their assistance."

RELATED: Louisville police declare state of emergency ahead of Breonna Taylor decision

While the protests in Chicago were mostly peaceful in Atlanta, Georgia State Patrol deployed tear gas against demonstrators in the downtown area

It was a much calmer scene in Sacramento. Protestors marched down the street without incident. Much of the violence erupting in Louisville where two police officers were shot

in Milwaukee law enforcement deployed tear gas to order people off Interstate 94

Louisville's mayor declared a state of emergency due to potential civil unrest expected in the wake of the announcement, hours after police there said they would restrict access in the city's downtown area. The mayor and police said they were trying to plan ahead of time to protect both demonstrators and the people who live and work there.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times March 13 by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The warrant used was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville's Metro Council.

RELATED: Chicago looting devastates Michigan Avenue, Loop, Gold Coast; More than 100 arrested, police say