The road to achieving justice for Breonna Taylor may not be as smooth as it could be after it was announced that the Republican attorney general of Kentucky would be serving as the case’s special prosecutor. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron was placed in charge of the case to determine if any charges are warranted for the botched police raid that killed Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, and injured her boyfriend.
Local Black clergy and civil rights leaders likely weren’t pleased with the news about Cameron since it was only last month when they released a scathing joint letter blasting the first-term attorney general over his response to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines that have kept his and other states closed. The group of 100 people signed the letter emphasizing how Black people in Kentucky “deserve better” from Cameron, who has threatened to sue the governor over the lockdown, saying it is “unconstitutional” and violates religious freedoms. The letter said Cameron’s response ignored how the coronavirus has disproportionately affected Black people, not only nationally but also in Kentucky.
“We find it alarming, reckless and counterproductive, that given these numbers and their impact on the Black community, that the Attorney General Daniel Cameron would state and take steps that align himself with actions which have been, will be and are detrimental to the Black community,” the letter addressed directly to Cameron said in part.
Cameron is Kentucky’s first Black attorney general.
Cameron’s response to the coronavirus restrictions and guidelines could be an indication of the value he places on Black lives. Taking that into consideration, it was especially unclear how he would proceed with handling Taylor’s case as the special prosecutor.
With that said, the facts should be clear that the Louisville Metro Police Department completely botched every aspect of this failed drug raid, from the location to the blame for it. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, stood his ground by legally shooting at the door when he suspected burglars as the cops were executing their no-knock warrant at the wrong location. An officer was struck by a bullet and Walker was charged with attempted murder. However, it was reported on Thursday that the officer who got hit was actually struck by friendly fire from one of his fellow cops.
On top of that, journalist Shaun King also reported that all of the responding officers fired blindly and recklessly into three apartments, including Taylor’s.
To make matters worse, it was later learned that the “trap house” where the warrant was not only actually supposed to be executed miles away from Taylor’s home but also that the suspect police were looking for was already in custody. The entire incident pointed to a larger issue of competence and communication, both of which were missing from the fatal raid.
However, even with all that apparently damning evidence against the police, it can’t be ignored that Cameron has been described as Mitch McConnell’s “protégé, having served as the senator’s general counsel from 2015-2017.” Donald Trump is also a fan of his, calling Cameron “a star” following his election last year. Cameron is also largely seen as McConnell’s eventual successor (that is, unless progressive State Rep. Charles Booker can win the Democratic primary and beat McConnell in the general election first) and has been called “an unapologetic conservative” who “touted his support for Trump’s immigration policies as well as his socially conservative views on abortion.”
McConnell, as some might remember, made it his mission to block any and every attempt to make legislative progress during Barack Obama‘s presidency. The U.S. senator is also largely seen as the reason why no witnesses were allowed to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, which theoretically helped Trump get acquitted.
As if that wasn’t enough, Cameron is also pushing Trump’s racist agenda against China’s role in the coronavirus pandemic. He and 16 other attorneys general joined in “a coalition requesting investigation by Congress into the Chinese government’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic.” In the letter, Cameron made an explicit reference to “the communist Chinese government’s actions.”
There was also controversy during Cameron’s campaign over whether the 34-year-old was even eligible to be attorney general because of how long the young lawyer had been practicing law at the time.
All of which leads us back to Taylor’s case. Resigned to the fact that Cameron would be the deciding voice on whether to bring charges against the officers involved in Taylor’s death, Booker challenged the attorney general-turned special prosecutor to rise to the occasion.
“Though it is unjust and reprehensible, it is true that black people in American society are often seen as deadly weapons simply because of the color of our skin. I urgently request that you ensure that justice is done in this case,” Booker wrote in his letter to Cameron. “I am counting on your leadership to ensure that Breonna Taylor’s life and service are more than yet another hashtag, and that this moment becomes a chance to stand against institutional racism and for the just humanity of all Kentuckians.”