Breonna Taylor grand jury ruling may spark new round of sports protests, Lions player says

Detroit Free Press

A Kentucky grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict three Louisville police officers of homicide in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, sparking a fresh round of protests in that city and others across the country.

Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers said he only heard bits and pieces of the news, but that it’s possible those demonstrations extend to the Lions and other the NFL teams this week.

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“It could lead to whatever it leads to,” Flowers said. “It’s just as far as what people feel and how people feel as far as what can be affected, so I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The Lions led a round of protests in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting last month, when they called off a day of practice to talk about issues of racial injustice and demonstrate against police brutality.

Several other NFL teams did the same in the days that followed, and the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball were forced to cancel games after players refused to participate.

No NFL games have been postponed by protests, but several Lions players, including Matthew Stafford, have taken a knee for the playing of the national anthem the past two weeks, and about two dozen other Lions players retreat to the tunnel during the song.

Flowers said the grand jury decision was not a topic of conversation in the Lions’ team meeting Wednesday, as the Blake shooting was last month. But it’s possible the topic comes up when players reconvene Thursday morning.

Taylor, 26, was killed in March during a botched raid on her apartment.

More: Ex-Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell to lead freedom march: George Floyd’s death ‘last straw’

Brett Hankison, a former Louisville police detective who was fired in June, was indicted on three felony counts of wanton endangerment Wednesday, and bail was set at $15,000.

Two other officers involved in the shooting were cleared of wrongdoing, though the city of Louisville previously agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million to settle a civil lawsuit.

The grand jury did not find that any of the officers were criminally liable for Taylor’s death.

“I really just kind of heard that so I ain’t really got any thoughts on that,” Flowers said. “But it’s definitely tough. Obviously, for her family, I feel like it’s something that they probably don’t think that they received justice and that’s what you really (want). My heart breaks for them, but like I said, I just kind of really heard it, so I ain’t really got any thoughts on that.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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