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"We see you, we hear you, and we support you" says City of Grand Rapids on Grand Jury decision in Breonna Taylor's death

Breonna Taylor gatherings
Posted at 4:22 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 20:05:38-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids released a statement on deep impact the decision made by the Grand Jury in Breonna Taylor's death will have on the community.

"We see you, we hear you and we support you. We feel her loss, too." it reads. "This is her hometown. She is one of us, and we are grieving with her family and our community. We are in this together."

None of the officers involved in Taylor's death will be charged with homicide. Wednesday, charges of "wanton endangerment" were filed against Brett Hankinson for firing into neighboring apartments while serving a warrant.

Grand Rapids city officials say they will honor Taylor by continuing to re-imagine policing in Grand Rapids, promising a commitment to making all people feel safe throughout the city.

"As a community, we know gathering is a natural part of mourning and coping in times like this." The city acknowledged. "Many community groups plan to hold peaceful gatherings throughout our city today and over the next several days – and we fully support these events."

Kent County Sheriff Michelle Lajoye-Young spoke to FOX 17 ahead of gatherings planned.

"...obviously, when there is such a public loss, that mourning becomes more public." Lajoye-Young said. "It's good to come down and show unity. at the point where it's time to disperse and move on for the evening, then doing so peacefully is in everybody's best interest."

People at gatherings in Louisville, KY have already been detained by police following the decision. The city was put under a state of emergency on Monday.

Lajoye-Young says their office is having conversations with organizers and monitoring the situation to focus on public safety. The sheriff believes her deputies will be available only as back-up for Grand Rapids police, saying she understands the need to speak up.

"...I really do appreciate and support the fact that we all have a right to come together and demonstrate or talk about those things that we're not happy about or that are, in our view, not appropriate in government and I expect some people will be doing that tonight." Lajoye-Young said. "Our hearts go out to [Taylor's] family here in Grand Rapids, and we know that there is a lot of community here who knew Breonna, who loved Breonna and are mourning for her loss, even to this point."

There are two events planned Wednesday evening in the wake of the Grand Jury decision; one at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, another in front of the Kalamazoo courthouse. Grand Rapids city officials are encouraging anyone gathering to abide by social distancing guidelines and wear a mask.