With a grand jury decision expected any day in Breonna Taylor’s death in Louisville, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has put the Illinois National Guard into a “state of readiness” in the event of any unrest in Chicago or in other parts of the state.
According to a statement from Pritzker’s office, additional Illinois State Police troopers will also be available if needed in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision in the Taylor case.
“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 governor is putting the Guard in a state of readiness to ensure they are available if municipalities request their assistance,” the statement continued.
A grand jury is expected soon on whether officers involved in the shooting death of Taylor earlier this year will face criminal charges. Three plainclothes Louisville police officers entered Taylor’s apartment on a “no-knock search warrant,” and they were fired at by Taylor’s boyfriend, who has argued that police did not identify themselves before breaking into the apartment.
Louisville police say the officers did identify themselves. Officers were at the apartment executing warrants for Taylor’s ex-boyfriend for alleged drug dealing, as he’d been seen at her apartment on numerous occasions prior to her death.
The officers fired more than 20 shots during an exchange of gunfire, and Taylor was struck eight times.
Her death, along with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, sparked anger and protests across the United States, including in Chicago. In late May, protests in the city over Floyd’s death took place, with looting occurring in the city’s downtown area after the demonstrations.
In June of this year, Officer Brett Hankison was fired for his actions during the raid, and the city of Louisville settled a lawsuit with Taylor’s family, paying out $12 million and vowing to enact police reforms.
A grand jury is expected to decide whether to pursue charges against the officers involved in the shooting, and already authorities in cities across the U.S. are on high alert. In Louisville, a state of emergency has already been declared, and all vacation time has been canceled for police officers in the city.
The city says it is prepared to deal with any issues related to the Taylor decision. During previous times of unrest, city officials ordered bridges lifted and access to downtown restricted to residents and workers only to help prevent a repeat of the looting that took place in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.
According to an NBC 5 reporter, a driver with the city’s Streets and Sanitation Department has parked a truck near Clark Street and the Chicago River in the event access to the downtown area needs to be blocked.
It is not known at this time when the grand jury will release its decision, but most observers believe the decision will be delivered this week.