Breonna Taylor’s verdict has caused riots and protests across the country. How do you feel about this? Do you agree with the verdict?
I didnt mean to flag this post.
I feel like mainstream people have their set position whenever something like this happens. For me it’s all in the specifics. If someone bursts into your drug operation and you get on the ground and don’t resist and get shot anyways, that’s clearly cold-blooded murder. We’ve all seen the videos of this. On the other hand, if you flip over a table and open fire on the officers, it’s a very different story. The truth is almost always going to be somewhere between these two extremes.
I think people get so emotional about this topic, on both sides, that they don’t want to hear someone saying “The devil’s in the details. Let’s talk about the specifics.” Or “Let’s look at this from both sides.”
As is the case so often, overly-simplified (and therefore marketable) rhetoric masks the need to deal with complex and extremely important problems.
There’s been NO VERDICT!! How can there be a verdict without a trial? Think about it - so far, there is only the CHARGES recommended by the Grand Jury. Basic civics, my friend. Also of note: it was not a NO KNOCK WARRANT - this was another line of BS to create a false narrative. A witness declared that the police DID ANNOUNCE THEIR PRESENCE PRIOR TO ENTRY. This one of the reasons why the grand jury could not recommend murder charges. The boyfriend admits HE SHOT FIRST, NOT THE POLICE! The police reaction to being shot at was beyond reasonable but was not criminal in itself. I hope this doesn’t burst your bubble but I would not be surprised if the three cops were terribly sorry for the tragedy in which they participated.
Breonna Taylor should not be dead.
I believe the warrant was actually issued as ‘no knock’, but the officers knocked anyway. There seems to be some question as to whether/how loudly they identified themselves – witnesses differ and stories have changed. It also appears that Breonna stepped in front of her boyfriend (perhaps to protect him?), and got caught in the crossfire.
My biggest problem is with the after-midnight timing. I don’t think that was necessary.
That said, the officers who executed the warrant weren’t the same ones who obtained it, so they were responding to a situation they didn’t create. I don’t think it’s OK for Breonna to have been killed, but I don’t think the two officers who entered and returned fire did anything criminal. As for the officer outside who just started shooting randomly, he was charged appropriately, and I hope he is convicted. He wasn’t a rookie, and this wasn’t his first performance issue.
The city admitted that they were culpable for her wrongful death, and they have already agreed to pay her family millions of dollars. That doesn’t bring her back, but it is considered by law a form of restitution.
Policing needs to be reformed. The “militarization” of policing has bothered me for years, although I recognize that it started as a response to criminal escalation. There need to be SWAT units, but SWAT-level armament shouldn’t be standard-issue. I would like to see these reforms:
- Strict limits on “qualified immunity” that force police officers to be accountable for their actions.
- Restrictions on the circumstances that justify late night, “no-knock”, and similar kinds of warrants.
- Extended training for police recruits with national registration requirements (and mandatory reporting of disciplinary actions).
- Expanded “community policing” practices that build relationships and trust between officers and the populations they serve.
One more thing to keep in mind: the indictments were issued by a grand jury, which in that community was almost certainly racially mixed. In a grand jury proceeding, the prosecution gets to present whatever evidence they have, and there is no defense. So the grand jury saw only the perspective of the prosecutor (who is also African-American, so I don’t think he was likely to have held racial animus against Breonna). I think it highly unlikely that the lack of a murder indictment was based on the race of the victim.
I think that it is a tragedy. I think that the grand jury had no choice but to give the findings they did, under the law. I think that race is indeed a factor, because Breonna was a casualty of the War on Drugs, which has disproportionately impacted Black people in many ways.
How often do they break down the door of white drug suspects in the middle of the night? Apparently on flimsy evidence, too, since there is no mention of any drugs found, nor have I found any mention of what kind of drugs they thought would merit such a raid.
Breonna Taylor’s death was unjust, it was a tragedy, and her race was indeed a factor because she was a victim of the War on Drugs. But the grand jury could have done no differently under the law.
No dispute about the “War on Drugs” affecting Black people disproportionately. No knock warrants are served on white people, but at a far lower rate.
But I was specifically saying that the lack of an indictment from the grand jury is probably not racially motivated. That is, the grand jury didn’t let the cops off because Breonna was Black, the grand jury just didn’t see adequate evidence to show that a criminal murder had taken place.
Breonna’s death is absolutely a tragedy and wrongful. The war on drugs is a bad policy, and the impact that policy has had on Black communities is horrific and unjust. I hope the First Step program helps as many of its victims as possible to re-enter society.
I’d be in favor of decriminalizing simple possession (not pushing). Let’s stop putting people in jail for being addicted.
I thought Nate Broady did an excellent video on the facts in this case, and his discussion along with Viva Frei, Uncivil Law, and Robert Barnes was top notch.
It’s a shame the movement has framed things the way they have. It would be better for everyone involved if the energy were put into demanding a complete and total end to the criminal law aspect of the War on Drugs.
This sort of oppression only sees one color: green. It’s a far more reliable narrative throughout history that power tends to oppress the poor (though this can certainly swing to the other extreme), since they can do the least to defend themselves. Nested within that is the appearance of a racial context due to our notorious past that’s perpetuating dysfunctions in institutional structure, generational momentum, and disabling mindsets alike. God knows what motivations or circumstances lead to unequal enforcement of the law, and this is why it is imperitave to eliminate all laws that are counter productive and only have those that are so necessary as to almost make equal enforcement an undeniable matter of survival.
There was a quote from that discussion that went something like, “Bad tactics lead to bad use of force.” That’s what this seemed to be…a no-knock warrant “converted” into the worst of both worlds, where the use of force in self defense was justified for the officers given a scenario that never should have been, for multiple reasons.
In these cases, the law does not determine who deserved to live and who deserved to die. It is possible for a case of lawful self-defense to result in the death of someone who absolutely didn’t.