Michael Brown on Why Everyone Loses in the Breonna Taylor Tragedy

A woman confronts the police after a grand jury considering the March killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker, in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, voted to indict one of three white police officers for wanton endangerment, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. September 23, 2020. (Bryan Woolston/Reuters)

If there’s one thing we can agree on, it is that Breonna Taylor’s death is a terrible tragedy. No one with a working heart and functioning brain will deny that.

But who is to blame for her death? Were the police at fault? Was her boyfriend at fault? Is the legal system at fault? And how should the public respond to the verdict of the grand jury?

Reading the various accounts of the shooting, this seems to be the most reliable narrative.

1) Three Louisville, Kentucky policemen were issued a warrant to search an apartment for drugs in the middle of the night.

2) They knocked at the door of Breonna Taylor’s apartment around 12:40 a.m.

3) Kenneth Walker, Breonna’s boyfriend, says he heard the knock, asked loudly who was there (as did Taylor) but got no response.

4) The police claim to have identified themselves, but either way, we know they knocked on the door and, when they heard no response, they broke in using a battering ram.

5) As the police broke in, Walker fired once, as Taylor stood next to him. (According to her attorneys, she was shot in the hallway, not asleep in bed.)

6) Walker’s shot hit one of the officers. The others responded with a hail of bullets, resulting in Taylor’s death, with the fatal bullet allegedly killing her within two minutes.

7) Since charges against Walker for attempted murder of a police officer were dropped, we believe his report that he was not aware they were police.

8) The grand jury found none of the officers guilty in the shooting of Taylor but did find one officer (whose bullet did not kill her) guilty of shooting recklessly into neighboring apartments. This officer was subsequently fired.

9) Prior to the grand jury’s announcement on Wednesday, the city granted Taylor’s family $12 million for her wrongful death.

How then do we sort out this painful, deadly story?

First, Breonna Taylor should not be dead. Let us not forget that for one moment. This has been acknowledged by the city’s wrongful death settlement.

As reported by ABC News, Mayor Greg Fischer “said that in addition to the monetary settlement, the largest in a police use-of-force case in Louisville history, the city will implement a series of police department reforms ‘to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.'”

Second, although the warrant was legally executed, critics have claimed that other factors were involved, including a move towards the gentrification of the neighborhood. According to Appeal.com, “Whatever the truth in this case, academic research and historical scholarship show that policing can be particularly intense during the process of gentrification. This research suggests that the continued use of police to pursue economic development will most likely result in more needless stops, arrests and deaths like Breonna Taylor’s.”

This, then, is another question to be sorted out by others with detailed and factual knowledge. But it is understandable that many in the Black community will question the legitimacy of the warrant in the first place.

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SOURCE: Charisma News