Biden: I have not yet been briefed on grand jury decision in Breonna Taylor case

Joe Biden said Wednesday evening that he had not yet been briefed on the indictment of one of three police officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was killed in her own home in Louisville, Ky.

“I have not seen the report,” Biden told reporters before traveling from Charlotte, N.C., to Wilmington, Delaware according to a pool report. “I was told going in that there’s one charge against one of the officers. I don’t know the details. I’m going to try to find that out on the plane and I’ll comment for you but I just – my heart goes out for her mother.”

Pressed on the issue, Biden reiterated that he had not yet been briefed on the matter. 

“I don’t know the details so I’m reluctant to comment. I really don’t. I haven’t had a chance to get briefed. I’ve been asked by the local press the same question. I don’t know enough to comment on. I don’t know the details.”

When asked about the possibility of large-scale protests in response to the decision, however, Biden said that they should remain peaceful.

“Well, they should be peaceful,” he said. “Do not sully her memory or her mother’s by engaging in any violence. It’s totally inappropriate for that to happen. She wouldn’t want it nor would her mother so I hope they do that.”

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris told reporters earlier Wednesday that she was still reviewing the decision but “there is no question that Breonna Taylor and her family deserved justice yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

30 PHOTOSJoe Biden in 2020See GalleryJoe Biden in 2020WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JUNE 30: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event June 30, 2020 at Alexis I. Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden discussed the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JUNE 30: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event June 30, 2020 at Alexis I. Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden discussed the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden answers questions after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leaves after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden answers questions after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)TOPSHOT – US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy on June 30, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. 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(Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)LANCASTER, PA – JUNE 25: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Amy Raslevich (C) and her daughter Laura about how they have benefited from the Affordable Care Act during an event at the Lancaster Recreation Center on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Biden met with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and made remarks on his plan for affordable healthcare. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)LANCASTER, PA – JUNE 25: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event about affordable healthcare at the Lancaster Recreation Center on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Biden met with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and made remarks on his plan for affordable healthcare. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks after meeting with Pennsylvania families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Acton June 25, 2020 in Lancaster,Pennsylvania. – Biden has largely remained off the campaign trail and in his Delaware home since mid-March due to the pandemic, although he has begun participating in small-scale events. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about reopening the economy during a round table discussion at Carlettes Backyard Bar & Soul food Restaurant in Yeadon, Pennsylvania on June 17, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a roundtable meeting on reopening the economy with community leaders at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a roundtable meeting on reopening the economy with community leaders at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a roundtable meeting on reopening the economy with community leaders at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2020. 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(Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden with his wife Jill Biden, pay their respects to fallen service members on Memorial Day at Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran’s Memorial Park in Newcastle, Delaware, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 28:Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Hillary Clinton during The Impact of COVID-19 on Women virtual town hall event as seen livestreaming on a laptop in Washington, DC on April 28, 2020. During the event, Hillary Clinton endorsed Joe Biden for president. (Photo by Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images)LOS ANGELES – APRIL 21: James chats with Joe Biden Melanie C from his garage on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN, scheduled to air Tuesday, April 21, 2020 (12:37-1:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. 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A grand jury charged former Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Brett Hankison with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment on Wednesday for shooting into neighboring residences. His bond is $15,000. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not indicted by the grand jury. Both Mattingly and Cosgrove were placed on administrative leave after Taylor’s death; Hankison was fired.

On Twitter, Taylor family attorney Ben Crump called the decision “outrageous and offensive.”

Taylor was shot and killed by police in her apartment earlier this year, sparking national outrage and a $12 million wrongful death lawsuit that was settled out of court last week. The terms of the settlement included a promise to implement several policing reforms.

Taylor was killed after officers attempted to enter her apartment on March 13. According to Louisville officials, the officers were executing a no-knock warrant but did knock and identify themselves before breaking down her door. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he heard pounding at the door but did not hear the officers announce that they were police. 

Walker fired what he described as a warning shot, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, which hit Mattingly in the thigh. Police then shot and killed Taylor. Robert Schroeder, the interim chief of the Louisville Metro Police, fired Hankinson in June and alleged that he “blindly” fired ten shots into the apartment. According to the Associated Press, the officers were executing a warrant that pertained to a drug-trafficking investigation that involved Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. 

“While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed and the grand jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday.

Earlier in September, Biden called for the officers involved in the killing of Taylor — as well as the officers involved in the August shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc. — to be charged.

“I believe we should let the judicial system work its way. I do think there’s a minimum need to be charged, the officers,” Biden said of Blake’s shooting. He added, “As well as with Breonna Taylor.”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer implemented a three-day nighttime curfew ahead of the Wednesday afternoon announcement.

“Our hope is that people will lawfully and peacefully express themselves,” Louisville Police Chief Rob Schroeder said Wednesday. “We will not tolerate destruction of property.”

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