While one of the three officers involved in Breonna Taylor‘s shooting death was fired after the preventable killing, the other two remain gainfully employed by the Louisville Metro Police Department. Perhaps even more egregious, none of them has been charged criminally for their roles in the shooting that took place more than three months ago.
It’s all resulted in what the Associated Press described as “impatience” waiting for the first steps toward justice to be taken in this case that ha seemingly languished amid nationwide protests against racism, police violence and the often deadly combination of the two.
Lousiville Officer Brett Hankison was fired on Tuesday because of his “extreme indifference to the value of human life” by “wantonly and blindly” shooting into Taylor’s home. But it was unclear how and why it took the department so long to reach this conclusion that had already long been established by the court of public opinion.
The Louisville police chief was also fired just days after he announced he’d be taking an early retirement following the fallout from his officers’ deadly actions.
Meanwhile, Louisville Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove have avoided being terminated even though they also fired their weapons during the botched execution of a no-knock search warrant that wasn’t only at the wrong location but also in search of a suspect who was already in custody.
None of them has been criminally charged and Hankison has 10 days to appeal his firing.
While people were eager to see Taylor’s killers brought to justice, one local activist in Lousiville told the Associated Press that he understood why the process was taking so long.
“I think the game changer is the federal intervention here,” Christopher 2X said while explaining that the laundry list of controversial and racially charged shootings in Louisville has never attracted such widespread attention. He said he told Taylor’s mother to be patient.
“She’s frustrated, she feels grief and pain from the loss of her daughter,” he said. “But I constantly remind her how this system works.”
Another reason for the delay in any arrests is likely because the Republican attorney general of Kentucky is serving as the case’s special prosecutor. Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s first Black attorney general, 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. It can’t be forgotten that Trump has famously described himself as the “aw and order president” who has previously encouraged cops to “not be so nice.”
Taylor was killed while she was sleeping in her own home when the cops executed their misguided no-knock warrant. No-knock warrants have a deadly history of going wrong and in this case added a new installment on the long list of normal activities that Black people apparently cannot do without fear of being killed by police: sleep.
Reacting to the police’s apparent forced entry, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, used his legally owned firearm to shoot at the door suspecting burglars were trying to come in (also known as standing his ground). Police then shot indiscriminately into the home, hitting both Walker and Taylor. Walker survived the barrage of bullets. Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT worker who was an essential worker on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, did not.
However, it turned out that not only did the cops raid the wrong location, but the suspected drug dealer was also already in custody. That means that neither the police nor the judge who signed the “no-knock” warrant did their due diligence despite theoretically being well aware of the deadly consequences that botched raised with those warrants can many times result in. All of which brings the focus of the value of Black lives, who, as mentioned before, are far too often the disproportionate targets of such warrants.
In Taylor’s case, even though the actual address of the actual suspected “trap house” was 10 miles away from her home, police still arrested Walker and charged him with the attempted murder of a police officer.
This is America.