President Trump abruptly exited his news conference Wednesday at the White House, saying he had an “emergency” phone call as reporters continued to press him with questions on the Breonna Taylor case.
"I have to leave for an emergency phone call," Trump said before leaving the briefing. "I'll be back. I'll see you tomorrow"
Trump earlier praised Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for calling in the National Guard as the state braced for unrest following the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case.
“I will be speaking to the governor, we have a call scheduled,” Trump said. “I understand he's called up the National Guard. That's a good thing. It’ll all work out.”
Trump had said earlier that he didn't know enough about the case to comment, but said later that he'd since been briefed.
When asked earlier what his message was to the Black community who felt "justice had not been served," he pivoted to his record.
"Well, my message is that I love the Black community. And I've done more for the Black community than any other president. And I say, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln," he said.
Gov. Beshear said Monday that the city of Louisville made a “general request” for state assistance “about a week ago” in anticipation of the grand jury’s decision in the case of the police-involved shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Still, Beshear called on the state's attorney general to publicly release all the facts in the case.
“I believe that the public deserves this information,” Beshear said. “So I previously made what I would call a suggestion to the attorney general, and now I’m making the request that he post online all the information, evidence and facts that he can release without impacting the three felony counts in the indictment issued today.”
Officer Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for shots that were fired into a neighbornig apartment, a Jefferson County grand jury decided Wednesday. Neither the grand jury nor the presiding judge elaborated on the charges.
A warrant has been issued for Hankison's arrest and a bond is set at $15,000 cash.Hankison faces up to five years on each count if convicted.
Trump also praised Kentucky’s Republican attorney general Daniel Cameron, who presented his findings to a grand jury before the jury came to a decision. “He’s handling it very well,” Trump said, before reading out a statement Cameron had given earlier when announcing the charges.
The indictment was announced 194 days after Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical worker, was shot six times by the officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation on March 13.
Authorities found that the bullets fired by Hankison traveled into the neighboring apartment while three residents were home – a male, a pregnant female, and a child, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a press conference after the grand jury's announcement. Hankinson was not charged in Taylor's death, but rather for endangering her neighbors' lives.
Cameron earlier called Taylor’s death "a gut-wrenching emotional case" where "the pain is understandable."
"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 is unequivocally, 'yes,'" Cameron said. "I understand that Breonna Taylor's death is part of a national story, but the facts and evidence in this case are different than others..."
“If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice," Cameron said. "Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge."
Louisville has been gripped by large-scale and sometimes violent demonstrations this summer over the death of Taylor, and is preparing for a fresh round of unrest following the grand jury decision.
The city was placed under a state of emergency Tuesday as city officials shut down a more than 25-block perimeter to traffic. Most city buildings were boarded up as a precaution.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who announced that a curfew will be in effect from 9 p.m. Wednesday until 6:30 a.m. Thursday, urged protesters in a press conference to demonstrate peacefully and only while it was still light out – not after dark. He encouraged people not to distract from the "unwavering focus on racial equity and reimagining public safety."
Fox News' Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.