It’s been a few days since Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the grand jury findings in the tragic case of Louisville’s Breonna Taylor.
Taylor’s Louisville apartment was one of five places for which a no-knock search warrant was signed off. Her ex-boyfriend, who was arrested on Dec. 30, 2019, in connection to drug sales, had been driving a car registered to Taylor, was still allegedly paying visits to Taylor’s place and had listed Taylor’s phone number on a complaint against a police officer in February.
Taylor and her new boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep just after midnight on March 13, when police came to their door. A witness collaborated what police officers said — that they knocked and identified themselves.
But soon all hell broke loose. According to the Courier Journal, officers didn’t hear a response from inside the apartment. So, according to the newspaper, they used a battering ram to plow into the residence.
Walker, who says he did not hear officers identify themselves, fired on police first, striking one officer in the thigh. When officers returned fire, Taylor was shot and killed.
Meanwhile, about 10 miles away, police had Taylor’s ex-boyfriend and three others in custody.
Police found no drugs or cash inside Taylor’s apartment.
People across the nation anxiously awaited grand jury findings on the case. Cameron announced last Wednesday that neither of the two officers who returned fire would be charged. Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, because three of his shots entered an adjacent apartment where three people dwelled. Hankison, who has already been fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department, faces up to five years in prison.
For people seeking justice for Taylor, that didn’t sit well. No one who actually shot and killed Taylor would be held accountable — and that’s a tough outcome.
However, from a criminal justice standpoint, it might be the only logical outcome.
Emotions boiled over and a new wave of protests in Louisville began. On the very first night, two Louisville police officers were shot and wounded.
Obviously, a violent response is not what we needed. As a matter of fact, it’s the last thing we need.
We don’t need officers being ambushed and we don’t need rioting, looting and the destruction of property.
What we need is a long look at the mechanics behind this case — we need to figure out what went wrong and try to prevent it from ever happening again.
Talk of “defunding” the police is absurd. Police don’t need less funds — they need more oversight. Let’s take a look at why a warrant was issued for the home of Taylor and why it was served in that manner on March 13.
We need to examine who asked for the warrant, who signed off on it and how it was obtained.
Could it have been done differently?
What we know is that Walker shot at police as they entered Taylor’s apartment. They shot back. It’s difficult to blame law enforcement for defending themselves.
We have to remember these officers were executing a legal search warrant. Whether the warrant should have been issued is certainly up for debate — but the officers’ actions are not. You shoot at police, they’re going to shoot back.
Certainly the death of Breonna Taylor was tragic — she did not deserve to be shot to death in her own home. But more violence in her name will only widen the divide that grips this nation.
We need to move toward a more united America by identifying where we can be better and work toward those goals together.
If we continue to act out in anger, it will just lead to more tragedy.
JEFF NEAL is the Editor of the Commonwealth Journal. Reach him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jnealCJ.