Illinois governor places National Guard in ‘state of readiness’ ahead of Taylor decision

J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot met 'and are in regular communication,' officials say.

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As the city of Louisville readies for an announcement related to Kentucky’s investigation into the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor, locales in other states are bracing as well. 

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has put his state’s national guard into a “state of readiness” in the event of any unrest in Chicago or other parts of the state. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot listens on during an April press conference held after they toured a facility to treat COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Chris Sweda-Pool via Getty Images)

“The governor and (Chicago Mayor Lori) Lightfoot met this morning and are in regular communication, and the governor has spoken with leaders across the state,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. 

“As the governor has always said, all of the state’s resources are available to municipalities if needed, and this includes additional Illinois State Police troopers and the National Guard,” the statement continued. “The governor is putting the Guard in a state of readiness to ensure they are available if municipalities request their assistance.”

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Taylor’s death has been a galvanizing force in the national fight for police reform. The killing of the 26-year-old emergency medical technician on March 13, along with the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, has fueled the ban of no-knock warrants in several states. 

The three Louisville Metro Police officers who entered Taylor’s home on a no-knock warrant fired at least 20 rounds into the home, and she was struck eight times. The officials involved — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Det. Myles Cosgrove and then-Officer Brett Hankison, who has since been fired — have yet to be charged. 

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A grand jury decision is expected in the case, possibly this week. 

The city settled a lawsuit with Taylor’s family recently, paying them $12 million and promising to reform police policies.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has declared a state of emergency for the city “due to the potential for civil unrest.” 

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“Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement,” Fischer said in a statement. “At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”

Many streets in the downtown area of the city have been closed, and barricades are blocking others to prevent people from entering. 

Corey Shapiro, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the barricades are “creating an environment of fear … that there’s going to be something more than just peaceful protesting, which doesn’t seem warranted based on our view that it’s been peaceful protesting.”

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