By Lexi Meola
Elm Staff Writer
On Mar. 13, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was killed after being shot five times by police serving a no-knock warrant.
It was announced by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Sept. 23 that only one officer involved in Taylor’s death would be charged.
“The grand jury indicted former Det. Brett Hankinson on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into the neighbor’s apartment,” The Wall Street Journal said.
The other two officers involved in the killing — Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove — were not charged.
It is important to note that the charges leveled at Hankinson were not related to Taylor’s death, which authorities have instead blamed on her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
Walker, as well as several of his neighbors, claim that the police never announced their presence, only pounding on the door. Walker fired one shot thinking that someone was trying to break into the apartment. In response, the police fired 32 rounds into the small apartment. Five of those shots hit Taylor.
When the charges for Hankinson were released, much of the country felt betrayed by the American justice system. With a decision like this, it is difficult to not feel let down.
This Taylor grand jury decision was shocking, as it was reported that Cameron did not ask the grand jury to consider homicide charges for the wrongful death of Taylor.
“Cameron also revealed that the only charge he recommended to the jury was wanton endangerment,” Politico said.
After Cameron was ordered by a judge to release the grand jury recordings, one jurist spoke out, claiming that the recordings did not include the instructions given by the prosecutors to the grand jury.
“One juror said Mr. Cameron was deflecting blame by saying it was jurors who had opted not to indict the two officers who shot Ms. Taylor,” The New York Times said.
As soon as jurors began speaking out against Cameron, he made himself distrustful in the public eye. His contradicting statements made it very clear that he had no intention of getting justice for Taylor. Cameron turned his back on a murdered woman, her family, and the American people, proving yet again that there are no consequences for police officers.
Though it was reported by CBS News that Taylor’s mother “never had faith” in Cameron, she and her family seem determined to continue seeking justice.
“There seems to be two justice systems in America,” the Taylor family attorney Ben Crump said. “One for Black America, and one for white America.”
While some might feel that protests against racial injustice are unhelpful, it is important to remember that allowing your voice to be silenced will change nothing. If you see something wrong in your country, use your voice to speak on it. While you might think you are not being heard, there is power in numbers.
Taylor has still not received justice. We must continue saying her name — as well as those of every other Black American who was wrongfully killed — until they receive justice.
Featured Photo caption: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron decided last week that the officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor would not be charged with her death. Photo Courtesy of Flickr.