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On Sept. 23, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was sleeping in her home when officers began open firing during an unfounded drug raid, would not have charges for her death brought against them.
Only one of the men faces any charges at all. Former officer Bret Hankinson was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment, meaning he has been charged for endangering the lives of the neighbor’s homes that he also shot into.
He will be tried for the bullets that hit the walls, but not the ones that hit Breonna. His bail was set at a mere $15,000 and was released the same day.
There is grief to be felt over a decision as unjust as this.
Millions of people across the world said the name Breonna Taylor in the hopes that the officers who murdered her would be held accountable. The fact that so many people fought so hard for a case that’s evidence clearly incriminates the officers, and they all walked away damn near unscathed anyway. It speaks volumes to the state of this country’s justice system.
It’s not broken, it’s just working for the white men who built it.
But we can’t give up.
There are many paths that we can take to achieve accountability, and it’s important that we try them all. We must send the message that we are not giving up, that we will continue fighting for Breonna and all the other victims of police brutality until the system itself is changed in its entirety.
So here are some action steps we can take as we continue forward:
Step 1: The FBI’s Civil Rights Division is continuing its investigation despite the grand jury decision. Public pressure has played an undeniable role in making sure this case has gotten as far as it has. We must continue applying this pressure to ensure the FBI investigation continues.
Step 2: We must ban no-knock warrants everywhere. In Louisville, where Breonna was killed, the city passed “Breonna’s Law,” effectively banning no-knock warrants. In most cities across America, they are still perfectly legal. These raids are extremely dangerous for the officers executing them, the people whose homes they are raiding and all of their neighbors. It must come to an end.
Step 3: We must radically reinvent the role law enforcement plays in our communities. They should not be policing school hallways, arresting people experiencing homelessness or responding to calls relating to mental health crises. They are not trained in any of these fields. They are trained to use force in every situation they encounter. We must begin implementing policing alternatives in every community across the country.
On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun unpacks and explains these action steps and more as we continue the fight for accountability in the case of Breonna Taylor.