Cops broke into Breonna Taylor’s apartment in Louisville last March on a “no-knock” warrant and shot her to death. It’s taken until now for the system to bring an indictment in the case. And, as much as the shooting was a product of the racist policing system in this country, the indictment itself is just as racist. Two of the three cops involved were not charged at all and one was charged with “wanton endangerment” for firing shots that might have hurt her neighbors, not murder or even manslaughter. In short, although three cops fired shots and Taylor died from them, not one of the cops was charged with killing her.
Protests erupted not only in Louisville, but in New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville, and elsewhere around the country. The protesters are absolutely right to take to the streets. Despite the massive nationwide and worldwide protests following George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police in May, racist cop murders have continued. And the indictment process in the Breonna Taylor case shows the rest of the so-called “justice” system is guilty, too. Cops in this society can get away with killing Black people without punishment.
The Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, in announcing the indictment, said, “Mob justice is not justice,” complaining about the protests that had shaken Louisville and other cities. He should have been talking about the history of racist white lynch mobs in Kentucky that slaughtered close to 200 Black people between 1877 and 1934, often in a picnic atmosphere.
In this case, those in power were probably hoping that the fact that one cop was charged with wanton endangerment would avoid more protests. But they were wrong. And we have to keep fighting until all people are safe from racist violence by cops or anyone.