Black Voices

Black Voices: The justice system failed Breonna Taylor



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A grand jury decision announced Wednesday has not charged Louisville Metro Police Department officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was sleeping in her apartment March when she was shot and killed by officers. Tribune News Service

Say her name.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by the Louisville Metro Police Department on March 13 after officers entered her apartment during a supposed no-knock search warrant. On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the grand jury's decision in the case's indictment.

“Brett Hankison will be charged with multiple counts of wanton endangerment,” Cameron said during a press conference.   

Ex-officer Hankison’s bond has been set to $15,000. His charges do not relate to the murder of Taylor. Instead, Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing bullets in the neighboring apartments.

Taylor’s then-pregnant neighbor, Chesey Napper, filed a lawsuit against LMPD in May in regard to the officers shooting blindly and almost striking a person inside of her home.

Prior to being indicted, Hankison was dismissed from the police force followed by a letter of termination stating he displayed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.” 

Hankison’s termination proves his actions were heinous — but somehow it’s still not enough to make him pay for taking the life of an innocent, young Black woman. This is yet another instance of Black people being shown how little their lives are valued in America. Taylor was a full-time emergency room technician who dedicated her life to assisting in saving lives.

The one time she depended on her country to serve her, it failed. 

The two other officers involved, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, were not charged despite the fact they too fired their guns during the search warrant in which Taylor was murdered. 

The cries of Taylor’s family, friends and members of the #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName movements have continuously fallen on deaf ears. For centuries, Black Americans have been forced to conform to disproportionate patterns of injustice and we’re tired.

Why is Black skin, especially that of a woman, valued so little in our society? 

However, the American judicial system has found a way to protect those whom it's always been known to favor — the white officers that make up our law enforcement.

Chesey Napper, Taylor's neighbor, easily got the justice she was seeking for the near endangerment of her family, but Taylor’s loss of life is now something everyone just has to deal with.

America is not the free land many leaders believe it to be.

“Home of the Free?" How free is a person who is hunted down and slain in her own home? Not free at all. Not safe at all.

On June 11, the Metro Council in Louisville, Kentucky, unanimously voted to pass a new ordinance named “Breonna’s Law."

In light of Taylor’s death, the ordinance now bans no-knock search warrants. If this is significant enough to create a piece of legislation over, Breonna deserves true justice for her life and her family deserves the peace of mind of knowing the officers involved will never be able to do this to anyone else again.

This is unacceptable. This is barbaric. This is blatant disregard for Black life. This is a loud reminder that police have authority to kill you whenever they want, even in the comfort of your own home for no reason that concerns you. This is America. 

Wake up. 

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