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One officer indicted in Breonna Taylor case but not for her death

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Breonna Taylor (photo source: Taylor family via ABC News)

One Louisville, Kentucky, police officer who shot into Breonna Taylor’s apartment the night of March 13 has been indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.

The charges against police officer Brett Hankison, who was fired shortly after the shooting, are based on endangering the lives of Taylor’s neighbors. He faces up to five years on each of the three counts if convicted. None of the shots Hankison fired hit Taylor.

Two other officers who shot their weapons that night and hit Taylor — Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and detective Myles Cosgrove — were not indicted.

None of the officers will face charges for shooting and killing Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT who was shot six times while she slept.

Police were serving a no-knock warrant on Taylor’s apartment in search of two individuals suspected of dealing drugs, neither of whom were Taylor. A total of 32 shots were fired between the three officers. None of the 10 shots fired by Hankinson, the only officer charged, hit Taylor.

Evidence suggests that the officers announced themselves before breaking down Taylor’s door, but that evidence has been disputed by several witnesses.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was in bed with Taylor the night of the shooting, was accused of attempted murder and assault after he shot Sgt. Mattingly in what Walker says was self-defense. Walker fired four shots but was not hit in the barrage of gunfire that killed Taylor. Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Wine dropped criminal charges against Walker May 22.

“The decision before my office as the special prosecutor in this case was not to decide if the loss of Ms. Taylor’s life was a tragedy. The answer to that question is, unequivocally, yes,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a news conference Wednesday.

Last week, the City of Louisville settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Taylor’s mother for $12 million.

Louisville has been under a curfew for 72 hours awaiting the announcement of the grand jury’s decision on the case. A crowd of Taylor’s supporters let out shrieks of disgust and disbelief when the indictments were announced. Some broke down in tears.

The city has been besieged by protests, some of which have been violent, since May when the Taylor case became public. Protests in support of Taylor have also been held in numerous cities around the country, and several more have been planned.

Wednesday evening, Taylor’s supporters marched through the streets peacefully for about two hours before police in riot gear began confronting and pushing them back, using batons and a chemical agent. Several protestors have been arrested.

The investigation continues as federal prosecutors are looking into potential civil rights charges against the police.

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Update: Pascagoula brothers located; mother in custody

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Kaiden and Kolden Wall and-Sarah-Caswell (photos courtesy MBI)


UPDATE: Officials say Kaiden Wall, 6, and Kolden Wall, 2, were located Monday morning in Lincoln County, near Brookhaven, Mississippi. They are both safe.

The boys were taken by their non-custodial mother, Sarah Caswell. She is in police custody.

***AMBER ALERT CANCELED***
Kaiden and Kolden Wall have been located and are safe!! Sarah Caswell is in police custody….

Posted by Pascagoula Police Department on Monday, October 19, 2020

Original story: 

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has issued an Endangered/Missing Child Alert for brothers Kaiden and Kolden Wall of Pascagoula, Mississippi, in Jackson County.

Kaiden Wall is a white male, 6 years old, 3-feet, 6 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.

His brother Kolden Wall is a white male, 2 years old, 2-feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 40 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.

Kaiden Wall and Kolden Wall may be accompanied by their non-custodial mother, Sarah Caswell.

Caswell is a white female, 33 years old, 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds, with black hair.

The vehicle being used is a 2007 silver Audi A4 2.0 bearing Alabama license plate 2BA2195.

If anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of Kaiden Wall and Kolden Wall, Sarah Caswell or the vehicle, please call the Pascagoula Police Department at 228-762-2211.

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Announcements

Wicker, Hyde-Smith encourage students to apply for U.S. Senate Youth Program

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Mississippi’s U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith are encouraging Mississippi high school juniors and seniors involved in student leadership to apply for the 2021 U.S. Senate Youth Program, an educational program that will provide $10,000 college scholarships to two delegates from the Magnolia State.

A Dec. 1, 2020, application deadline has been set for the program’s 59th annual Washington Week, March 14-18, 2021. Because of COVID-19 concerns, the USSYP 2021 Washington Week ONLINE will be virtual.

“The 2021 U.S. Senate Youth Program is adapting to our current environment and going virtual. This year’s program will provide a unique opportunity for our state’s young leaders to engage with our nation’s highest levels of government,” said Sen. Wicker, who serves on the USSYP Senate Advisory Committee. “I encourage every eligible student to apply for this special opportunity.”

“Even as a virtual experience, the Senate Youth Program offers student leaders a chance to get firsthand exposure to our nation’s leaders and the workings of the government. I encourage Mississippi’s talented students to look at this valuable program and apply for the 2021 Washington Week,” said Sen. Hyde-Smith.

Applicants must be juniors or seniors and elected or appointed student officers for the 2019-2020 or the 2020-2021 academic year. Because of COVID-19, students unable to serve in qualifying leadership positions for the 2020-2021 academic year may use positions held in the previous year.

The selected Mississippi delegates will be among 104 student delegates overall. The Hearst Foundation fully funds this program, which provides a $10,000 college scholarship to each delegate.

The 2021 Washington Week ONLINE, like previous in person programs, will connect USSYP delegates with the highest-level officials from each branch of government, including their senators, the president, cabinet secretaries, a justice of the Supreme Court, senior members of the national media and other key policymakers.

Interested students can visit https://www.ussenateyouth.org/ for more information. The USSYP 2021 Washington Week ONLINE brochure is available here. To apply, students should also contact their high school principal or Mississippi’s state selection administrator:

Mrs. Sandra Hilliard
Education Specialist, Sr.
Mississippi Department of Education
[email protected] –601-359-2213

For more information on the program, visit https://mdek12.org/OTL/OTC/USSYP.

Mississippi’s 2020 USSYP delegates were Bobby Current of Olive Branch and Alex Stradinger of Ridgeland.

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Announcements

Andrea Sanders appointed commissioner of MS Child Protection Services

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Andrea Sanders (photo courtesy MS Governor's Office)

Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced that Andrea Sanders will serve as the new Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.

A former social worker for children and current general counsel and principal deputy executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Sanders has been on the front lines of the effort to protect Mississippi’s most vulnerable. She has been a key leader in the efforts to reform the Department of Human Services.

“I am proud to make this appointment today,” Reeves said in a statement. “Not only has Andrea served with integrity and devotion in this field for many decades, she brings powerful personal experience to the job. Andrea was adopted into a loving Mississippi family as an infant. She is not only a leader in the effort to look after Mississippi’s children, she is a testament to the unlimited potential of every child in the system.

“From her work to provide therapy and care for struggling children as a social worker, to her esteemed legal background, to her efforts to clean up the Mississippi Department of Human Services–there is no one who could be better equipped for the job.”

“I am honored and excited to take on this task,” Sanders said. “I know that we have more work to do in order to provide a secure environment and loving home to Mississippi’s children. I’m grateful to Gov. Reeves for putting me in this position of trust, and I know that we have many kids out there who are relying on us to get it right. I believe that we can make a difference if we always remember the God-given potential of every child in our state. All must be protected and uplifted.”

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