Months after the death of Breonna Taylor, a grand jury has decided to indict one of the three police officers involved in the police shooting of the 26-year-old emergency room technician.
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted former Louisville police detective Brett Hankison on three felony charges of first-degree wanton endangerment.
Hankison was charged with endangerment because he was found to have fired his weapon into a covered glass patio door and window, a move that is in clear violation of a department policy dictating that an officer must have a clear line of fire before discharging his or her weapon. Reportedly, at least one bullet fired from Hankison’s gun traveled through Taylor’s apartment wall and into the adjoining residence where a pregnant woman, her husband and their 5-year-old child were sleeping. None of them were harmed.
Hankison, who was not brought up on charges for Taylor’s death, has since been fired from the force.
In his dismissal letter issued in June, the Louisville Police Department argued that Hankison showed “extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “blindly fired” 10 times into Taylor’s apartment.
The other two officers involved, Sargent Jonathan Mattingly and Deputy Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted by the grand jury.
According to the Washington Post, Mattingly, who suffered a gunshot wound to the upper thigh, was the only officer to enter Taylor’s apartment. Cosgrove, who FBI analysts determined fired the bullet that killed Taylor, was in the doorway of the apartment.
According to a statement from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday, the force used by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves.
“This justification,” he said, “bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Ms. Breonna Taylor’s death.”
Both men are still on the force but have been placed on administrative leave.
According to the New York Times, legal experts did not anticipate any of the officers being indicted on murder charges because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was the first to fire off rounds.
In March, police in plainclothes executed a warrant at Taylor’s apartment under the cover of night. Police were looking for Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. According to the New York Times, Police used a battering ram to enter the apartment. Upon hearing what he reportedly believed to be an intruder, Walker armed himself and went to investigate the commotion. This is when Walker and police exchanged fire. During the fire fight, Taylor was shot five times. The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office told The Courier-Journal that Taylor likely died less than a minute after being shot.
Since Taylor’s death, her name has become a rallying cry for those pushing for police reform and racial justice.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, earlier this month, the city of Louisville, Kentucky reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family for her wrongful death. The city also promised Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, that actions would be taken to reform the city’s police force.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Montinique Monroe/Stringer
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.
Students around the world still gathered, both in-person and virtually, for Wednesday’s See You at the Pole event.
This year, the SYATP organization had a livestream video so that students could still participate. The Annual Global Day of Student Prayer is held on the fourth Wednesday of September each year.
This is the 30th year of the annual student event and in the midst of a global pandemic. Organizers say the theme is “Return. Restore. Revive.”
The theme comes from 2 Kings 23:25, which says, “Before him, there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.”
“As a nation, we need to return to the Lord and repent for present and past sins,” said First Priority Greater Birmingham Ministry Director Debi DeBoer. “Only then can relationships be restored and healing begin. Awaken our hearts, revive us or we can slumber and watch another generation be without hope,” DeBoer said.
In Wappingers Falls, New York, where schools are closed, students from a local high school gathered at a local park and spread out to pray in masks around a flagpole.
SYATP began in 1990 when a group of 10 students in Burleson, Texas drove to three different schools one night and prayed at the flagpoles. Later that year, youth leaders invited other students to take part in the prayer event.
According to CBN News, some one million students around the world participate in the one-day prayer event, including students from countries such as Canada, Japan, Korea and Turkey.
"These Christian young people are leading the way by example in prayer for their schools, communities and the nation. Liberty Counsel is proud of and supports all students who exercise their constitutional right to pray during the annual See You at the Pole event and throughout the school year,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver.
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/Zinkevych
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.
(RNS) — In his first meeting as leader of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, the Rev. Rolland Slade called on other committee members on Tuesday (Sept. 22) to be responsible “to shepherd and to protect” survivors of church sex abuse.
Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, announced that the issue is “personal” for him because his wife is a survivor.
“For the last 40 years of my life, I have been in touch with a survivor of sexual abuse in the church,” he said to the 70 people attending the virtual meeting. “In fact, we’ve been married 39 years. So when I say it’s personal, it’s personal. And I encourage you to listen. You don’t have to solve it but you need to listen and share with them how much you care and what has happened to them is not what God would have happen in the church.”
Slade was elected in June as the first African American chair of the committee that runs the business of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination between its annual meetings.
The issue of sexual abuse has been a growing focus of the denomination, the country’s second-largest Christian group, but has been particularly pressing since a series in the Houston Chronicle last year cataloged some 700 cases of alleged abuse by Southern Baptist pastors and other leaders over two decades. Mike Stone, the committee’s previous chairman, began a meeting of the group last year by displaying a photo of himself as a young child and sharing that he had been abused as a boy.
At the 2019 SBC annual meeting, Southern Baptists approved a new credentials committee that can recommend the disaffiliation of churches that do not properly handle instances of abuse. In February, the Executive Committee removed a Texas church that had employed a pastor who was a registered sex offender.
Jon Wilke, media relations director for the Executive Committee, told Religion News Service before Tuesday’s meeting that the credentials committee “continues to meet virtually and work on churches submitted for disfellowship.” He said the committee will not bring any new recommendations to the full Executive Committee until after it meets in person again, tentatively set for February.
SBC President J.D. Greear, one of the speakers at the Tuesday meeting, echoed Slade’s remarks on supporting abuse survivors as one of the numerous ways the Southern Baptists should focus on describing themselves as “Great Commission Baptists,” a reference to Jesus’ command to spread his message globally that is a theme of the next annual meeting.
“Our focus on the Great Commission is why we will continue to strive to make the most vulnerable in our churches — specifically victims of sexual abuse — feel safe by showing them that we will do everything in our power to keep our churches safe from abuse and safe for the abused,” Greear said.
“That’s not something we do because it’s in the media. It’s not something we do because it’s trendy,” he added.
“We do that because it’s right and because Jesus died for those that were vulnerable and said it’d be better if a millstone were hung about our neck and cast into the sea than to cause one of the little ones to believe and then to stumble.”
Slade listed abuse survivors as the second of two groups he believed his committee should give particular attention. The other is pastors of the relatively small churches that comprise the bulk of congregations affiliated with the evangelical denomination.
“I respect wholeheartedly pastors who have pastored megachurches and have great testimony of the thousands that they reach each and every week,” said Slade. “But I want to remind us that of our denomination of 48,000 churches, there are more churches that are normative size,” he said, referring to churches with Sunday attendance of fewer than 100 people.
Slade offered his own church as an example. “Meridian Baptist Church runs a little over a hundred on a really good Sunday when we count everybody who steps on the property,” he said.
Slade expressed his wish that the men who lead these congregations — often working in additional jobs and giving a portion of their salaries to support the SBC budget — should be connected with megachurch pastors and church planters, who start new congregations.
Article originally published by Religion News Service. Used with permission.
Photo courtesy: RNS/Rev Rolland Slade Screengrab