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Mayor declares emergency as Louisville braces for Breonna Taylor decision

State of emergency ahead of Breonna Taylor decision
State of emergency ahead of Breonna Taylor de... 01:25

Officials in Louisville say they're implementing safety measures as the city braces for an announcement from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron in the Breonna Taylor case, though a timeline remains unclear. Cameron, who has been investigating the Louisville police officers who shot and killed the emergency medical worker in her home during a March 13 raid, has declined to say when a possible charging decision could be announced.

The Community awaits the grand jury finding in the Breonna Taylor shooting
Federal Protective Service Police officers patrol outside of the U.S. Courthouse in Louisville on September 21, 2020. BRYAN WOOLSTON / REUTERS

The death of the 26-year-old Black woman is among several police killings that have galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement and a nationwide push for police reform and racial justice

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in the city "due to the potential for civil unrest," giving him the authority under an executive order to implement curfews and other restrictions. The move came after Louisville police on Monday announced their own state of emergency for the department that cancels days off and vacation requests for police staff that weren't previously approved to ensure adequate staffing. 

Fischer stressed he did not know when the attorney general would announce the decision, or what it would be.

"Again, we do not know when the announcement will come, but we must prepare for it. Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement," Fischer said in a statement. "At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe."  

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, interim Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said the department is blocking off vehicular access to a section of downtown Louisville around Jefferson Square Park, where protesters have rallied for months to demand that the officers involved in Taylor's death be charged. 

Schroeder said the measures were intended to protect the public and to facilitate protests, citing "many unknowns both to the police and public as to what will transpire." Schroeder said the department, like the rest of the community, has heard "rumors" that a decision is expected soon, but has no further information about a timeline for an announcement. 

The Community awaits the grand jury finding in the Breonna Taylor shooting
Police vehicles block downtown streets on September 22, 2020. Bryan Woolston/Reuters

"There's been rumors swirling around, and just like the public, we are anticipating something will happen," Schroeder said. "We felt like these steps were necessary to protect the public."

Schroeder said Cameron's office has said they will try "to the best of their ability" to offer the department advance notice.  

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Breonna Taylor

Barriers were erected to block off vehicle traffic to the area immediately surrounding Jefferson Square Park, and vehicle traffic was limited in surrounding areas of downtown Louisville. Motorists with "legitimate business" in the downtown area were being asked to flag down an officer at designated entryways, and parking was also being limited.

Schroeder said the measures are "by no means intended to be a lockdown of the downtown area" and said pedestrians could still access the area freely.

 "I hope that all of this is simply not needed and that it will be a peaceful situation, and we'll all be talking in a week, going, 'Wow, that was something we didn't need to do," Schroeder said. "But on the front side of it where we don't know what's going to happen, we have to plan as best we can to protect the public."

The federal courthouse in Louisville was also ordered closed for the week, reported CBS affiliate WLKY, and the ground-level windows were boarded up.

Last week, Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer made an impassioned plea to Cameron on Instagram, saying "it's crunch time and we're putting our faith and trust in you."

"Do you have the power and courage to call my child yours, the power to see that my cry and my community's cry is heard, and the power as part of a village who raises our children to do right by one of our daughters?!" the post read.

On Tuesday, Palmer posted again on Instagram: "Dear Breonna, Justice is coming."

6 officers under internal investigation

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Last week, the city announced a $12 million settlement for Taylor's family along with a series of police reforms, but Taylor's family made it clear that full justice would mean charging the officers criminally. 

Two of the officers who opened fire, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have been placed on leave, and the third, Brett Hankison, has been fired. In total, six current officers are the subject of an investigation by the department's professional standards unit -- Mattingly, Cosgrove, Joshua Jaynes, Tony James, Michael Campbell, and Michael Nobles.

Jaynes, who applied for the "no knock" warrant, is also on administrative re-assignment along with Mattingly and Cosgrove, reports WLKY.

The internal investigation is separate from the investigation that Cameron's office is conducting, which will determine whether Mattingly, Cosgrove or Hankison will face charges, the station reports. 

Mattingly, who was shot in the thigh during the raid, sent an e-mail Monday night to his colleagues, blaming city officials who he said "failed all of us in epic proportions and for their own gain to cover their a**es." He portrayed protesters as "thugs" who provoke police, and warned fellow officers they should try to de-escalate situations to avoid giving "pencil pushers at the top" a reason to launch internal investigations.

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Louisville Police Detectives Michael Nobles (left), Anthony James (center), and Michael Campbell (right).  Louisville Metro Police Department

"You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position," Mattingly wrote. "The position that allows thugs to get in your face and yell, curse and degrade you. Throw bricks, bottles and urine on you and expect you to do nothing."

Mattingly wrote that regardless of the charging decision, "I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night. It's sad how the good guys are demonized, and the criminals are canonized."  

Mattingly's lawyer Kent Wicker confirmed the email to CBS News, saying his client was expressing his support for his colleagues.

"As you will recall, [Mattingly] was shot and severely injured while serving this warrant," WIcker's statement said. "Like our entire community, he is hopeful that this process moves forward quickly, and that his fellow officers and the people of Louisville remain safe."  

Louisville police said they did not release the email and that the matter is under review.

Anam Siddiq contributed to this report.

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