A directive from the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) to its employees has declared a state of emergency within the force “in anticipation of Attorney General Daniel Cameron‘s announcement in the Breonna Taylor case.” The development on Monday was an indication that the police department may be preparing as if the cops who killed Taylor in her own home more than six months ago will not be criminally charged for their roles in the controversial shooting.
The LMPD memo came just days after the city of Louisville settled a civil lawsuit from Taylor’s family for a whopping $12 million, one of the highest municipal payouts ever for police violence.
Sent by LMPD Chief Robert J. Schroeder, the memo calls for “emergency staffing” of the entire department “until further notice.” That includes eliminating the option of taking time off for any LMPD staffer and addresses overtime and 12-hour shifts, among other directives.
The African American Policy Forum, a nonprofit think tank dedicated to dismantling structural inequality, tweeted Monday that the LMPD’s state of emergency was “as clear a sign as any that justice and accountability are not forthcoming.”
Journalist and cultural critic Jemele Hill offered a similar sentiment when she tweeted Monday that “we all know what this means.”
The LMPD state of emergency was the latest development in a case in which officials have dragged their feet ever since Taylor was shot and killed in her own home on March 13. Cameron, Kentucky’s AG, empaneled a grand jury earlier this month but has been apparently deliberating since then. It is unclear what the grand jury’s findings were.
However, it is important to know that all of the maneuverings by the LMPD and Cameron and his office do not necessarily preclude justice from being served in this case. At least not entirely.
It was a little more than a year ago when the Dallas Police Department (DPD) issued a similar directive to its officers in anticipation of the verdict in the murder trial for Amber Guyger, the off-duty cop who shot and killed Botham Jean in his own home in 2018. In that instance, orders came down from DPD’s top brass that no officers will be given any additional time off until the trial ended.
Specifically, DPD cops were told to have their uniforms, gas masks, helmets and other gear ready, in an indication they were preparing for civil unrest.
But, as it turned out, Guyger was found guilty and sentenced to prison — albeit a relatively short prison sentence of 10 years considering the egregious nature of the crime she committed.
As such, there could still be a similarly surprising outcome in Taylor’s case. However, considering the source of the decision — Cameron, a Black Republican and a favorite of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell who has politicized the case — all bets are off.