Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Decision Announced

By Terrance Turner

No officers have been directly charged in the death of Breonna Taylor.

In case you’ve been under a rock: On March 13, emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. They had fallen asleep after watching the movie “Freedom Writers”, according to USA Today. The Louisville Metro Police began banging on her door around 12:40 am. They had a no-knock warrant, which allows them to enter a home without warning. The police were carrying out a drug investigation for a suspect that had already been arrested. (Jamarcus Glover, who was also named on the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, was arrested the same night, 10 miles away, at a house on Elliott Avenue in the Russell neighborhood, per USA Today.)

So officers broke into Taylor’s home — the wrong house — wearing plain clothes, allegedly without identifying themselves, to arrest a suspected drug dealer who had already been arrested. (There were no drugs in Taylor’s apartment, by the way.) The two called out, asking who it was, but got no response, Walker said in a police interview. The officers used a battering ram to break into the apartment, according to the New York Times.

Kenneth Walker, believing his home was being burglarized, asserted his 2nd Amendment rights. He grabbed his gun and began firing at what he thought were intruders. The police responded with a torrent of gunfire. The officers — Brett Hankison, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove — fired 20 bullets into the apartment, hitting Taylor five times.

Dispatch logs obtained by USA Today show that Taylor laid where she fell in her hallway for more than 20 minutes after she was fatally shot at approximately 12:43 a.m. She received no medical attention; officers were too busy trying to put a tourniquet on Mattingly’s thigh after he was shot. An ambulance had left Taylor’s street an hour before the raid—counter to standard police practice—meaning she didn’t get help for more than 20 minutes after the shooting, per the Daily Beast.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family reveals that she lived for another “five to six minutes” while officers ignored her injuries. Breonna Taylor died from those injuries. She was 26. Her death certificate, reviewed by the New York Times, showed she had been struck by five bullets.

None of those officers have been directly charged in her death.

Today, it was announced that of the three officers, only Brent Hankison was charged. He was charged, however, with wanton endangerment — with endangering the other people in the apartment complex (officers’ bullets also hit a neighboring unit, per the Times.) But no one — NOT ONE OFFICER — was directly charged in her death. Mr. Hankison was the only officer fired; the other two officers were placed on administrative duty. And none of them will be held directly liable for her death.

The Louisville justice system had the audacity to charge Kenneth Walker for attempted murder. (Those charges were eventually dropped.) But not one of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor will be held responsible for her death. In a press conference held today, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the three officers fired a total of 32 shots. Rounds fired by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove struck Ms. Taylor, he said. But that apparently still wasn’t enough to justify charging the officers with manslaughter or murder.

“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by [Officers Jonathan] Mattingly and [Myles] Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves,” Cameron said. “This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.” He added: “But my heart breaks for the loss of Miss Taylor. And I’ve said that repeatedly. My mother, if something was to happen to me, would find it very hard,” he added, choking up. He was emotional discussing the case, according to the AP.

Black writer and author Michael Arceneaux was unconvinced by Cameron’s display:

Other voices were equally outraged. LA Charger Justin Jackson had this to say:

Activist Brittany Packyetti wrote:

New York Times writer Jenna Wortham was simple and blunt:

The family of Breonna Taylor was dismayed by the decision. “How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor’s apartment or into Breonna’s residence,” they wrote. The Taylor family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, denounced the decision as “outrageous and offensive,” and protesters shouting, “No justice, no peace!” began marching through the streets. Some sat quietly and wept, according to the Associated Press. Protests continue in Louisville as of this very moment.

This is a developing situation; please check back for updates.

Protests Turn Violent After Video Emerges of Police Killing

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George Floyd, who was killed by police on Monday. (Photo via Twitter: chloexhalle.)

By Terrance Turner

May 27, 2020

Large-scale protests have begun in Minneapolis and Houston tonight after video emerged of a black man being suffocated by Minnesota police. Tonight, four officers have been fired by the department after observer Darnella Frazier recorded a now-viral video of the police officer with his knee on the man’s neck. The officers say that they were responding to a forgery on Minneapolis’ south side and that the man resisted arrest. But none of that is evident on the video. All we see is a cop with his knee on the neck of yet another unarmed black man.

The cop kneels on the man’s neck for several minutes. The man lies on the ground motionless, moaning in pain. He can be heard on the video pleading for air, asking for mercy.

“I can’t breathe,” he says repeatedly. “Please. I can’t breathe.”

But his pleas are ignored. Others notice his slow asphyxiation and prompt the officers to stop choking the man. But they, too, are ignored. The officer continues kneeling. Bystanders nearby (in front of a Cup Foods store, at the intersection of 38th St. and Chicago Avenue S) begin commenting on the officer’s actions and the man’s condition.

“His nose is bleeding,” says one of the bystanders.

“This is bulls–t, bro. You’re stopping his breathing,” says another.

Eventually, the breathing stops altogether.

“He’s not moving,” a bystander could be heard saying.

None of their protests budge the officer. He knows he’s on camera; he looks directly into the camera at one point. Yet the presence of a cell phone video doesn’t prompt the officer to move. According to CBS News, his knee stays on the man’s neck for over seven minutes. The officer doesn’t remove his knee until an ambulance comes to take the man away. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The police had responded to a report of forgery, they say. They claim they arrived at about 8 pm. Monday to address the report and found Floyd sitting in his car. The New York Times quoted the police statement as saying the man “appeared to be under the influence” and “physically resisted” the officers. But new video obtained by CBS News tells a different story. It depicts an officer calmly escorting a handcuffed black man to a wall. There, he sits down. He does not resist.

The new video does not show that man resisting arrest. None of the videos so far show anything amounting to forgery or drug use. Yet those relatively low-level offenses appear to have punishable by death — at least in the eyes of that now-former police officer who suffocated that man until he died.

That man was George Floyd. He was 46. He was also from Houston. According to ABC 13, Floyd went to Yates High School, in Houston’s Third Ward. He also played high school football, according to friends and some former classmates.

Photo of George Floyd wearing a Yates High School jersey. (Photo courtesy of ABC 13 Houston.)

Mr. Floyd was identified by noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who reportedly is representing the Floyd family. (Crump has an office on the Southwest Freeway, about 15 minutes from downtown Houston.) Mr. Crump issued a statement about the case today on Twitter, saying: “This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”

Reaction online became swift and plentiful. Word of the incident spread like wildfire on Twitter and Instagram, where many public officials also offered statements. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for charges to be filed against Derek Chauvin in a press conference Tuesday. “I believe what I saw,” he said, “and what I saw is wrong at every level.”

Placing a knee on a suspect’s neck is allowed by Minnesota PD in some cases, according to ABC 13. But Mayor Frey left no doubt about whether this particular action was lawful. “That particular technique that was used is not authorized by the MPD,” Mayor Frey said. He added that any other individual would be imprisoned, if not a police officer: “Black men have been put in prison before for far, far less,” he was quoted as saying.

“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey stated at Tuesday’s press conference. He continued: “What we saw is horrible. Completely and utterly messed up. The man’s life matters. He matters. He was someone’s son. Someone’s family member. Someone’s friend.”

One of those friends was former boss (and landlord) Jovani Thunstrom. Floyd worked security for him at Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis. “He was the type of guy [who] was friendly to everybody. He didn’t discriminate. Whether you were Hispanic, you were black, you were white, he treated everybody with respect, and that’s what I love about him,” Thunstrom told CBSN Minnesota. “He wasn’t only my employee; he was my best friend.” Thunstrom told ABC News that Floyd has a daughter in Houston, whom Floyd was planning to bring to live with him in Minneapolis.

Instead, Floyd is dead, and his death is eerily reminiscent of another unarmed black man’s untimely passing. Eric Garner was choked to death by New York police in 2014, with the same anguished cry:

“I can’t breathe.”

Tonight, began in Minneapolis.

Protests began on Tuesday night and have continued through tonight.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune said that protests on May 27 began at Cup Foods, at the intersection of 38th St and Chicago Avenue South. (That’s where the original incident was filmed.) They then (peacefully) marched to the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct. Things escalated after a smaller group of protesters shattered the front door of the building and defaced it. According to the Tribune, some climbed on top of the building. Others threw rocks and water bottles at the officers. The cops responded with tear gas. In the middle of a global pandemic that causes respiratory issues.

Today, more details are emerging about the violent protests. According to the Star-Tribune, rubber bullets were also fired. One reporter got hit in the leg by one of the projectiles.

Approximately 20 minutes later, he captured this scene:

Today, after another night of sometimes violent (and deadly) protests, the FBI held a news conference to address the charges. But none of the officers were charged today. No charges were announced. That fact was not lost on CNN anchor Don Lemon, the only black anchor there with a prime-time show. He responded with a pointed monologue — which touched on the president, Kaepernick, the U.S. Attorney General, and the numerous complaints against former officer Derek Chauvin — on Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room”: