Health Kentucky Politics

Gov. Andy Beshear stayed tight-lipped regarding the investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor during Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing

An announcement is expected soon from Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office has been investigating the incident since May. Cameron will announce whether three Louisville Metro Police officers who fired into Taylor’s apartment while serving a no-knock warrant will face criminal charges. The city of Louisville has issued a state of emergency, and much of downtown has been barricaded in preparation for the announcement.

Beshear was asked several questions about the impending announcement. He said he has spoken with Cameron, but repeatedly stated that he would not comment on those discussions.

“I cannot comment on when a decision related to the Breonna Taylor investigation is going to be released,” Beshear said. “I know that the city of Louisville has declared their state of emergency, so from that, folks believe it’s coming soon. I think that’s fairly reasonable from seeing the state of emergency, but I can’t provide specific comments on timing.”

Beshear added that he has not yet signed any authorization or activation of National Guard units. Additional assistance is possible, either from the Kentucky State Police or the National Guard, once an announcement is made.

“I think there can be an expectation that the Guard and Kentucky State Police will serve limited, specific missions where they will be under their own command,” Beshear said. “LMPD will be the primary law enforcement unit that will interact with any demonstrators, but there are specific missions whereby the Kentucky State Police or National Guard could help.”

Any activation of the Guard or KSP would be used to secure “personal safety” and “critical infrastructure.” But Beshear said he expects protests to be largely peaceful.

He noted that violence and property damage only happened during a few nights early in the summer. But with so much attention on the city, Beshear said there is potential for things to take a negative turn, specifically pointing to outside groups and white supremacist militias.

“I think that LMPD and others are trying to ensure that any reaction is one where people can give voice, but at the same time we don’t see violence or property damage,” Beshear said. “Now just about every protest other than a couple nights hasn’t seen that, but the national attention here is so great, the potential for outsiders so significant, the possibility of someone taking something peaceful and trying to turn it into something it’s not, is all there.”

Beshear also announced 824 new cases of COVID-19. There have been 62,731 total cases in Kentucky since the pandemic reached the commonwealth in March. Seven new deaths were reported, bringing the state’s total to 1,119.

John Boyle is a reporter and editor at WFPL news focused on Southern Indiana. He is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.