Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has condemned the shooting of two police officers at a protest in Louisville, Kentucky over prosecutors' decision not to charge officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor.
"Even amidst the profound grief & anger today's decision generated, violence is never & can never be the answer," Mr Biden, 77, said in an early morning tweet on Thursday.
"Those who engage in it must be held accountable. Jill & I are keeping the officers shot tonight in Louisville in our prayers. We wish them both a swift & full recovery," he added.
Taylor, a 26-year-old black hospital worker who was shot multiple times when three plainclothes officers stormed her home on 13 March searching for drugs.
Two Lousiville police offers were shot on Wednesday night after a grand jury decided earlier in the day that no one would be charged over the killing of Taylor.
One of the officers, Brett Hankinson, has been charged with first-degree "wanton endangerment" for firing rounds into a neighbouring house. Sergeant John Mattingly and detective Myles Cosgrove, the two other officers, will face no charges, Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday.
Taylor's name has become a rallying cry for demonstrators protesting against police brutality and calling for an end to racial inequality. Protests have taken place in Lousiville - Kentucky's largest city - for 100 consecutive days and gained momentum following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Even amidst the profound grief & anger today's decision generated, violence is never & can never be the answer. Those who engage in it must be held accountable. Jill & I are keeping the officers shot tonight in Louisville in our prayers. We wish them both a swift & full recovery.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 24, 2020
Demonstrations continued on Wednesday following the grand jury's decision, with activists demanding more serious charges against the officers involved. Protests also broke out in Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Washington.
Ben Crump, a high-profile lawyer for the Taylor family, said the outcome was "outrageous and offensive".
A state of emergency had been declared in Louisville ahead of the announcement. Members of the Kentucky National Guard and state police were activated as protesters took to the streets and some clashes erupted with officers in riot gear.
Shortly before 9pm ET there were reports of gunfire near one of the marches. Two of the responding officers were shot and had non-life-threatening wounds, interim police chief Robert Schroeder told reporters. A suspect was in custody, he added.
President Trump, who has attempted to switch the focus of his reelection campaign to law and order as the US economy continues to tank amid the coronavirus pandemic, said he thought the grand jury's decision was "really brilliant".
He also praised attorney general Cameron. "I think he's a star," he said of Mr Cameron, adding that he approved of the Kentucky governor's decision to send in the National Guard.
Mr Trump, who has been accused of referring to dead army veterans as "losers", later said in a tweet he was "praying" for the shot officers.
"Praying for the two police officers that were shot tonight in Louisville, Kentucky. The Federal Government stands behind you and is ready to help. Spoke to Governor Andy Beshear and we are prepared to work together, immediately upon request!" he added. Mr Trump later tweeted: “LAW & ORDER!”
Governor Beshear, a Democrat, urged Kentucky prosecutors to release the evidence that was presented to the grand jury. "I think having more of the facts out there so people can see, people can truly process it, is where we need to be," Mr Beshear told reporters.
Protests over Taylor's death became violent in late May following the killing of George Floyd, but most demonstrations since then have been peaceful. Celebrities, athletes, activists and Taylor's family had for months pushed Mr Cameron to criminally charge the officers involved in the raid.
Taylor, a hospital emergency room tecnician, was shot at least six times on 13 March by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The warrant used was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville's Metro Council.
Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, told police he fired one round after the couple's door was broken down and Mr Mattingly entered. Mr Walker said he thought someone was breaking into the house and didn't know that it was police who were entering.
After Mr Walker fired, Mr Mattingly, Mr Hankison and a third officer, Myles Cosgrove, returned fire. In total, police fired 32 gunshots. Delivering the grand jury decision on Wednesday, Mr Cameron, 34, said the fatal bullet was fired by Mr Cosgrove, but added that Mr Cosgrove and Mr Mattingly were justified in the use of force because they were shot at first. Mr Cameron said state law “bars us from seeking charges in Breonna Taylor’s death.”