Breonna Taylor Still Has Not Received Justice
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Politics and Activism

One Indictment, Three Charges, And No Justice For Breonna Taylor

We can't settle for this decision or a system that is fundamentally broken and unequal.

One Indictment, Three Charges, And No Justice For Breonna Taylor

On March 13, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her apartment by police who were executing a "no-knock" warrant. Since then, there have been rallying efforts both in the streets and on social media demanding justice for Taylor and keeping her name known.

Last Wednesday, approximately six months after Taylor's death, a decision regarding the case was made. Unfortunately, it did not bring the proper justice that the country has been demanding for Taylor.

Only one of the three officers involved were indicted, and the charges were not for Taylor's death.

Former officer Brett Hankison was indicted by a Kentucky grand jury on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. If found guilty, he could serve up to five years in prison for each count.

However, this charge is not related to Taylor's death. Instead, Hankison is being charged for endangering her neighbors.

"How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor," Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor's family, said in a statement according to CNN. "This amounts to the most egregious disrespect of Black people, especially Black women, killed by police in America."

The other two officers who were involved, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, have not been charged.

"Our investigations show, and the grand jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their return of deadly fire after being fired upon by Kennenth Walker," said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron in his announcement of the ruling last Wednesday.

Kenneth Walker, the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, was in the apartment with Taylor when police shot her.

There are demands being made for evidence to be publicly released.

Governor Andy Beshear called on Cameron to publicly release evidence from his office's investigation of the shooting.

"Today, the attorney general announced a mixture of the findings of his investigation and the decisions of the grand jury," Beshear said, according to The Courier Journal, "But he talked about information, facts, evidence that neither I nor the general public have seen. I believe that the public deserves this information."

CNN reported that Taylor's family and their lawyer also want the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings to be publicly released to see what evidence Cameron's office presented to the jury.

However, Cameron's office will not release the evidence at this time. Cameron's spokeswoman, Elizabeth Kuhn, stated that releasing this information right now would compromise the federal investigation and violate the ethical duties of a prosecutor.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the city is working with the attorney general's office and the FBI to see what information can be released without interfering with ongoing investigations.

The decision has reignited protests and leaders are speaking out.

The jury's decision and the handling of this case has sparked protests in cities across the country, including Louisville. Although a 9 p.m. curfew was issued for Louisville last Wednesday night, protests continued. At least 127 people were arrested and two police officers were shot and wounded.

The city anticipated this unrest after Wednesday's announcement. Last Tuesday, Fischer signed an executive order that placed the city in a state of emergency "due to the potential for civil unrest." The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) also declared its own state of emergency.

In addition to these protests, political leaders and advocacy organizations are speaking out.

The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) — which founded the #SayHerName campaign — released a statement that condemns this lack of justice and the system's unwillingness to value and protect Taylor's life and other Black people's lives.

"While we are deeply disappointed in this decision, we are not surprised by it. At every stage of this process, the value of Breonna's life was an afterthought to law enforcement … We must continue to address and challenge the broader systemic conditions that enable the kind of policing that predictably imperils Black bodies to continue."

The NAACP also released a statement denouncing the grand jury's decision.

Our country is angry right now, and rightfully so. Breonna Taylor's death and this recent indictment prove that the police and justice system are not designed to protect or value black lives. Taylor did not receive justice at all. We must keep fighting for her. We can't settle for this decision or a system that is fundamentally broken and unequal.

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